Discrimination Laws Don’t Necessarily Care About Practical Concerns

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued a press release announcing its lawsuit against the international restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday, Inc.  According to the EEOC’s complaint, Ruby Tuesday discriminated against men by refusing to consider male applicants for temporary positions at a Park City, Utah resort location.

Male employees applied for the positions and purportedly viewed them as an opportunity to earn more money because although temporary, the positions entailed working the summer months in a resort town. The job posting announcement, however, allegedly stated that management would only consider female applicants. It also stated that the temporary job came with company-provided housing. Ultimately, 7 applicants were selected, all of whom were female.

The EEOC alleges that Ruby Tuesday violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by indicating a preference for female applicants and by depriving male applicants of “the opportunity to earn more money, gain valuable experience and take advantage of free housing” during the summer assignment in Park City. Ruby Tuesday defends its preference for female employees on the basis that it was concerned about providing mixed-gender housing. The EEOC dismisses this concern, stating “[Ruby Tuesday] could have addressed any real privacy concerns by providing separate housing units for each gender in Park City, but chose an unlawful option instead.”

The case serves as a good reminder to companies that employment decisions based on sex are rarely justified.

Author’s contact info:
Meredith S. Campbell
Co-Chair, Employment and Labor Group, Shulman Rogers
mcampbell@shulmanrogers.com | T 301.255.0550 | F 301.230.2891

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