Rare case of "explicit discrimination" alleged at popular restaurant

A national restaurant is accused of discriminating against men. The case provides lessons for employers and employees throughout the country, including here in Texas.

Ruby Tuesday, a popular, national restaurant chain, is accused of blatantly discriminating against men. In a move that is described as inconsistent with good business judgment by The Washington Post, the restaurant posted a "lucrative" summer job position for bartenders and servers. The catch: only women could apply.

The position was considered lucrative for two reasons. First, it was located in the resort town of Park City, Utah. Second, housing was provided. Ultimately, the restaurant hired seven women. The provision within the job description did not stop men from applying. Two men applied and were denied positions, allegedly based solely on the fact that they were men. These men argue that the company's decision denied them the opportunity to increase their income, take advantage of the free housing option and gain valuable work experience.

The restaurant chain counters that the restriction based on sex was due to housing concerns. According to the article in The Washington Post, the restaurant was attempting to address privacy concerns within the housing unit by only allowing for female applicants.

Sex discrimination and Texas state law

If the allegations are supported, the men filing suit against Ruby Tuesday will likely have a successful claim. Sex discrimination is defined by federal law as the unequal treatment of employees based on their sex. The practice is illegal and protections are available at both state and federal levels. Examples of discriminatory practices include making hiring, termination, salary and bonus decisions based solely on the applicant's sex.

Federal protections are available under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Generally, this law applies to businesses that employ 25 or more employees. Texas state law expands these protections, applying them to private businesses that employ 15 or more employees and all state and federal employers regardless of how many are employed.

Discrimination and legal remedies

Unfortunately, discriminatory practices are not uncommon. In fact, Fox News reports that Ruby Tuesday settled an age discrimination claim in 2013 for $575,000. These are two examples of discrimination within a single restaurant chain over one year.

Discrimination can occur in a variety of circumstances. Beyond discrimination based on sex, protections are also present against discriminatory practices based on one's race, age or religion.

Those that believe they are the victims of discrimination are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced discrimination attorney. Remedies are available and can include an award of back pay, lost wages or reinstatement to the same or a similar position. An attorney can review your case and guide you through the process, working to better ensure your legal rights and any potential remedies are protected.