Appetite for Title VII Enforcement

Appetite for Title VII En…

Last month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) filed suit against the operators of the Fricker’s restaurant chain, alleging that the company violated federal law by discriminating against qualified male applicants.

According to the lawsuit, Fricker’s hires only female applicants for server positions. The EEOC asserts that this alleged practice violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. The EEOC is seeking injunctive relief, instatement of rejected and deterred male applicants, backpay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages.

Maria Saldivar, EEOC’s Cincinnati Area Office Director, recently stated: “Denying men the chance to compete for a job . . . violates federal law—even if the employer assumes customers would prefer to be surrounded by female servers. Restaurant customer preferences are not an excuse for any kind of discrimination.”

Although the EEOC often advocates for historically disadvantaged groups, this case serves as a reminder that employers must refrain from engaging in any form of unlawful discrimination, irrespective of the demographic characteristics of those who may be impacted.

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