International restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday, Inc. discriminated against male employees for temporary assignments to a Utah resort, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC’s suit, in the spring of 2013 Ruby Tuesday posted an internal announcement within a 10-state region for temporary summer positions in Park City, Utah with company-provided housing for those selected. Andrew Herrera, a Ruby Tuesday employee since 2005 in Corvallis, Ore., wanted to apply because of the chance to earn more money in the busy summer resort town. However, the announcement stated that only females would be considered and Ruby Tuesday in fact selected only women for those summer jobs, supposedly from fears about housing employees of both genders together. Ruby Tuesday’s gender-specific internal posting excluded Herrera and at least one other male employee from consideration for the temporary assignment.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from giving more advantageous terms and conditions of employment to one group of individuals based on gender. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon (Case No. 15-CV-109) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation resolution through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks monetary damages on behalf of Herrera and class members, training on anti-discrimination laws, posting of notices throughout the 10-state region, and other injunctive relief.
“It’s rare to see an explicit example of sex discrimination like Ruby Tuesday’s internal job announcement,” noted EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo. “This suit is a cautionary tale to employers that sex-based employment decisions are rarely justified, and are not consistent with good business judgment.”
Seattle Field Office Director Nancy Sienko said, “Mr. Herrera was a longtime employee of Ruby Tuesday who had regularly trained new hires at the Corvallis restaurant. He was shocked and angered that Ruby Tuesday would categorically exclude him and other male employees from a lucrative summer assignment based purely on stereotypes about his gender. The company could have addressed any real privacy concerns by providing separate housing units for each gender in Park City, but chose an unlawful option instead.”
According www.rubytuesday.com, Ruby Tuesday is a publicly traded company operating over 800 restaurants nationally and in 15 different foreign countries, with an estimated 34,000 employees. In 2013, the company reported gross revenue of $1.251 billion. The internal announcement was posted to a 10-state region that included Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, and Utah.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.