Some employment practices are just hard to understand. Today, the EEOC sued the giant restaurant chain, Ruby Tuesday, Inc., in Oregon District Court, for discriminatory practices. According to the lawsuit and the accompanying press release, 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. But the announcement stated that only female applicants would be considered. And, in fact, the lawsuit alleges that the temporary positions were awarded solely to females. As a result, at least two Ruby Tuesday employees — the charging party and a class member — were denied “the opportunity to earn more money and gain valuable work experience while on temporary assignment to Park City, Utah for the summer of 2013 because of [their] sex (male). [These male employees] would also have saved on rent and other expenses if Ruby Tuesday had allowed [them] to work at the Park City, Utah restaurant because Ruby Tuesday would have provided housing free of charge.” The EEOC seeks a permanent injunction against such practices, and an award of back-pay and compensation for “past and future pecuniary losses” to the two complaining male employees.
It’s possible that Ruby Tuesday’s female-only program was designed to protect employee privacy or ensure employee safety. In the EEOC’s view, however, “[t]he company could have addressed any real privacy concerns by providing separate housing units for each gender in Park City.” Some interesting issues at work in this lawsuit; it’s a case to keep your eye on.