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updated 8/25/2010 6:34:09 PM ET 2010-08-25T22:34:09

A Michigan judge has given the go-ahead to lawsuits by two ex-Hooters waitresses who say they were fired because of their weight.

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Michigan has a pioneering law that prohibits discrimination based on weight. The 1976 law also bans discrimination based on age and height.

Hooters of Roseville Inc. and Atlanta-based Hooters of America Inc. say the law shouldn't apply because their waitresses are entertainers whose appearance is a legitimate concern.

Macomb County Circuit Judge Peter Maceroni on Monday denied Hooters' request to dismiss the suit because the waitresses had signed an arbitration agreement.

Maceroni says the women may not have knowingly waived their right to sue.

The former waitresses are by Cassandra Smith and Leanne Convery.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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