Phoenix Suns Agree to Slam Dunk Gender Bias Policies

October 10, 2003 ( - The Phoenix Suns basketball team has agreed to pay more than $100,000 in an out-of-court settlement of a gender bias lawsuit over a policy that only "males with athletic ability and talent" could be on its entertainment troupe.

According to an announcement from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the settlement with the Suns will provide a total of $104, 500 to plaintiff Kathryn Tomlinson and two other women who alleged they were illegally barred from competing for positions with the team’s “Zoo Crew.” The troupe entertains fans during games and participates in Suns’ community events.

The suit charged that the Suns adopted sex-restrictive hiring policies for the “ Zoo Crew” for the 1999-2000 season and announced the new rules publicly around Phoenix and in newspaper ads.

As part of the settlement, the Suns organization agreed to strengthen its sex discrimination policies, to provide training about the policies to employees and to apologize to Tomlinson.