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Posted On: November 6, 2009 by Peter M. LaSorsa

Restaurant Pays Over $1 Million To Settle Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") settlement a gender discrimination class action lawsuit for $1,025,000 and far reaching injunctive relief against Lawry's Restaurants, Inc., for allegedly failing to hire men into food server positions for decades.
According to court papers Lawry’s maintained a longstanding companywide policy of hiring only women for server positions in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex-based discrimination (also known as gender discrimination).

In one of the most bizarre set of facts uncovered in an investigation the EEOC found that Lawry’s policy barring men from being hired as servers had existed since 1938, despite the enactment of Title VII a quarter century later. Remarkably Lawry’s claimed the policy was based on tradition. I guess you could burn crosses on someones front lawn and claim it was based on tradition and Lawry's would understand? Please.

"Sex discrimination, against men and women alike, continues to be a problem in the 21st century workplace,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “This case should remind corporate America that employment decisions must be based on merit and ability to do the job – not on gender stereotypes.”

Lawry’s is a California-based corporation operating restaurants in Las Vegas, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Corona del Mar, Calif. Along with the over million dollar payment Lawry's must also provide monetary relief and develop a class fund in the amount of $500,000; Hire a claims administrator to identify and distribute the monies to the class of individuals; Pay over $300,000 to institute an advertising campaign regarding the hiring of food servers; Pay $225,000 for training all of its employees on compliance with Title VII and related laws; Revise its hiring and other policies and practices to comply with Title VII;
Appoint an equal employment opportunity officer to ensure compliance with the decree;
Report to the EEOC on the progress under the terms of the decree; and
Post a Notice at all of its restaurants in at least three locations frequented by employees

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