Waitress Fired for Going Bald for Charity

Stacey Fearnall thought she was doing a good thing when she raised $2,700 by donating her hair to a cancer research charity.

Instead, she was shocked to learn that her good deed wouldn't only go unrecognized, but that she'd lose her job because of it.

"I honestly can't believe this has happened," Fearnall told Canada's CTV.

Fearnall, 36, had been working as a waitress at Nathaniel's restaurant in her hometown of Owen Sound, Ontario, when she was told not to come back to work -- at least not until her hair grows back.

"It's ridiculous that I would be punished for doing a good thing," Fearnall, who declined to be interviewed by ABCNEWS.com, told CTV. Reached by telephone, Fearnall's husband, John, told ABCNEWS.com that his wife was no longer speaking out about her firing because she'd "had enough."

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Fearnall also holds jobs at a plant nursery and at a catering company.

According to the news report, Fearnall was told by her boss, restaurant owner and chef Dan Hilliard, that she had to either wear a wig to cover her freshly shaved head or go home.

Hilliard, who was unable to be reached by ABCNEWS.com, told CTV that he knew several of his restaurant's patrons agreed with his decision to ban Fearnall from his restaurant and would have been "appalled" to be served by the bald Fearnall.

The owner added that his restaurant has "certain standards" that require employees to "keep their hair at a reasonable length," according to the report. Other rules bar men from wearing earrings, Hilliard said.

Fearnall is still on the payroll and should she decide to return, will be welcomed back as a waitress when her hair grows back, Hilliard told CTV. Hilliard added that he was giving Fearnall the opportunity to spend the summer with her two children.

The waitress was eager to participate in the charity known as Cops for Cancer after having lost her father five years ago to the disease. Fearnall's cousin and a friend both also have cancer, according to the report.

Restaurants adjacent to Hillard's have benefited from the bad press he's received after firing Fearnall.

"[Nathanial's] had a really good reputation as a well-to-do restaurant before this," said Chelsea Walker, a 19-year-old waitress at Norma Jean's Restaurant, which is a bistro down the street from Hilliard's restaurant.

"I don't think [Fearnall] should have been let go," Walker told ABCNEWS.com. "I think it was very uncompassionate of the restaurant."

Frank Kosmerly, another local Owen Sound restaurateur, told ABCNEWS.com that there are conflicting reports among community members.

"[Hilliard] says he didn't fire her but just gave her a leave of absence for the summer, but her story is that she got fired," said Kosmerly, who owns the nearby restaurant Captain John's Fish & Chips.

Even so, Kosmerly said if he was in Hilliard's shoes he would have acted differently.

"I wouldn't fire [an employee] for giving to charity," said Kosmerly. "I'd encourage it."

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