Lawry's Pays $1 Million in Male Sex Discrimination Suit Settlement
November 5, 2009
Our California Employment and Labor Lawyers have been following the settlement of a Southern California sex discrimination class action lawsuit announced Monday, by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), for $1,025,000 against Lawry's Restaurants, Inc., the California-based high-end steak restaurant chain. The lawsuit alleged that Lawry has maintained a decade-long policy of hiring only female workers for serving positions, violating the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex.
After investigating a charge of sexual discrimination, filed in 2003 by a busboy who claimed he was denied a server position because of his sex, the EEOC found that Lawry's policy of discriminating against hiring male servers had been in place since 1938, even after Title VII of the Civil Rights act of 1964 prohibited such a policy. Lawry's defended the Los Angeles, California sexual discrimination claim, stating that the female-only server policy was based on a company tradition that started when hiring females as servers was a rarity.
The EEOC responded that gender stereotypes have no place in the workplace, and that the longstanding company tradition of hiring only females has affected an entire class of working men, based on sex. This was an unusual case because the standard employment complaint against high-end restaurants is that women are more likely to be denied promotions to server positions than men.
The lawsuit was filed by the EEOC in 2006, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court. Lawry's agreed, under the three year consent decree that resolved the case, to radically change the company's longstanding employment policies and hiring practices, by hiring and promoting men into the company's many server positions.
Lawry's is required, according to the settlement, to provide monetary relief, and develop a $500,000 class fund to distribute to the class of individuals represented in the case. Lawry's must also revise its employment hiring practices and policies and pay $225,000 for employee training to comply with Title VII. The steakhouse must also spend over $300,000 on a new advertising campaign to let the public know about the new hiring policy, as well as post a notice of the settlement in all Lawry's restaurants.
Olophius E. Perry, EEOC Los Angeles District Director, stated that every job applicant deserves the right to be hired in a job based on their talent, experience and qualifications--regardless of sexual orientation. Perry claimed that the EEOC does not support sexual discrimination in the workplace based on "so-called tradition." This settlement is still in need of approval by a federal district court judge.
At Howard Law, PC in Anaheim, California, our qualified lawyers are experienced in helping applicants who have experienced sexual discrimination in the hiring process. Contact us today for a free consultation at 1-800-872-5925.
Lawry's Restaruants, Inc. to Pay $1 Million For Sex Bias Against Men in Hiring, EEOC Press Release, November 2, 2009
Lawry's Settles Men's Sex Discrimination Suit, Associated Press, November 2, 2009
Lawry's Will Pay More than $1 Million to Settle Discrimination Suit, Los Angeles Times, November 3, 2009
Feds: Steakhouse Chain to Settle Sex Discrimination Suit for $1 Million, CNN.com, November 2, 2009
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