Sarah Daniels says she was one of Ruby Tuesday's happiest waitresses until her supervisors informed her she could only serve customers if she applied lip gloss, mascara and eye shadow before showing up for her shift.
Daniels said she and the entire female staff at the restaurant chain's Hanover location were notified of new makeup requirements when supervisors posted a notice stating that waitresses were required to wear mascara, eye shadow and lip gloss. "If you are not wearing any of these items, you are wrong," the statement read.
Daniels, 27, says she and other waitresses were closely inspected by their mostly male supervisors for makeup before their shifts started after the requirement was put into effect in late August. Daniels says she and other waitresses were sent home for the day when they showed up without makeup on.
"When we were to clock in we had to have manager approval," said waitress Stephanie Gardner, 24. "Our managers would look over us and if we did not have makeup on, then we were sent home and not allowed to work for the day."
Audra Murphy, 20, says she was sent home every day for more than two weeks when she showed up without makeup.
"They said, 'You can put in your two weeks [notice], do whatever you want. But you need to show up every day for work or else you will be fired for not showing up for work, '" Murphy said on ABC News' Good Morning America.
Daniels says she found the daily inspections by male supervisors humiliating. She says her personal space was invaded as she was "overlooked" for makeup.
"They don't have any of these specs for the men," Daniels said.
After being consistently turned away, the three waitresses and one other server at the Hanover restaurant, who asked that her name not be used, decided to take action. They contacted a lawyer, who challenged the makeup policy in a letter.
"We specifically referenced that these women were told they would have to put on their date face in order to do their jobs," said attorney Anne Zerbe.
"Before Aug. 21, it had never been a problem. They were able to do their jobs as waitresses or servers without needing to wear eye shadow, mascara and lip gloss or being subject to these inspections."
After Good Morning America contacted Ruby Tuesday Inc., the company issued a statement of apology.
"We apologize for the way the previous policy was implemented and we have corrected the guidelines from requiring makeup to strongly recommending it," the statement read.
Daniels says the statement means very little to her.
"This is the first we are hearing anything about an apology," she said. "No one has apologized to us. No one has said, 'You know what, we are sorry for objectifying you and humiliating you on a daily basis.' "
Daniels, Murphy and Gardner say they plan to return to serving customers at Ruby Tuesday — without makeup.
"I didn't have a problem with the company up until this point," Daniels said. "This is the one thing I feel strongly enough about and I am not going to bend on it."