Restaurant Forced to End Tradition of All Female Servers

November 4, 2009 ( - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced the settlement of a sex discrimination class action lawsuit for $1,025,000 against Lawry's Restaurants, Inc. for allegedly failing to hire men into food server positions for decades.

The EEOC said it found that the company, doing business as Lawry’s the Prime Rib, Five Crowns, and Tam O’Shanter Inn, had a policy barring men from being hired as servers since 1938. While, Lawry’s claimed the policy was based on tradition, the EEOC found the policy adversely affected a class of men on the basis of sex, according to the announcement.

Lawry’s agreed to change its “tradition” and actively promote the hiring of men into server positions. The three-year decree, pending court approval, requires Lawry’s to provide monetary relief and develop a class fund in the amount of $500,000; pay over $300,000 to institute an advertising campaign regarding the hiring of food servers; pay $225,000 for training all of its employees on compliance with Title VII and related laws; and appoint an equal employment opportunity officer to ensure compliance with the decree, among other things.

The EEOC’s investigation and subsequent lawsuit was initiated by a charge of discrimination filed in March 2003 by a male applicant in Las Vegas.