Press Release 05-07-2008

RAZZOO'S TO PAY $1 MILLION FOR SEX BIAS AGAINST MEN

EEOC Said Cajun Eateries Refused to Hire or Promote Males to Bartender Jobs

     

DALLAS — Razzoo’s, a Dallas/Fort Worth-based  Cajun food restaurant chain, will pay $1 million and furnish significant remedial relief to settle  a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity  Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.  The EEOC had charged Razzoo’s with discriminating against a class of  male applicants and employees.

   

The EEOC said that Razzoo's refused to hire or  promote men to the position of bartender in its restaurants. Razzoo's management set up and communicated to  managers by e-mail a plan for an 80-20 ratio of women to men behind the bar,  the EEOC said. Male applicants and  servers were expected to testify at trial -- which will now be unnecessary  because of this pre-trial settlement -- that managers told them Razzoo's wanted  mostly “girls” behind the bar. Men who  worked as servers at the restaurants were generally denied promotion to bartender  because of their gender. The few men who  were promoted to bartender were not allowed to work lucrative “girls-only” bar­tend­ing  events.

 

Sex discrimination violates  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary  settlement.

 

"Some may think that sex sells drinks, but gender  ratios are illegal," said Suzanne M. Anderson, EEOC supervisory trial  attorney and lead counsel on the lawsuit (EEOC  v. Razzoo's, Civil Action No. 3:05-CV-0562-P, Northern District of Texas,  Dallas Division). "Razzoo's  decision to hire and promote by gender is a clear violation of federal  law. A hiring ratio is illegal whether  it is 80-20 whites to blacks or 80-20 women to men."

 

As provided  in the consent decree settling the suit, Razzoo's agreed to pay $775,000 to be  divided among a class of male applicants, male servers, and male bartenders who  were discriminated against.

 

Razzoo's also agreed to retain the  services of a human resources consultant or to develop an in-house human  resources department. The decree required  that Razzoo's would spend no less than $225,000 for  these human resources services. Also  under the decree, Razzoo's agreed to injunctive relief requiring training on  equal employment opportunity for all Razzoo's employees, the posting of an  anti-discrimination notice, and EEOC monitoring of employee complaints of  discrimination.

 

“We are  pleased by the breadth of this settlement, which will provide significant  monetary relief to the class of male applicants and employees, as well as strong  injunctive relief to help Razzoo's develop workplace policies in compliance  with the Civil Rights Act,” said Regional Attorney Robert A. Canino of the EEOC’s  Dallas District Office. "Everyone deserves  the freedom to compete and advance in the workplace without regard to  artificial barriers.”

 

Razzoo's operates 11 Cajun food restaurants  throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth Metropolis and also has locations in Houston and Concord,  N.C.

 

The EEOC  enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is  available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov