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EEOC Sues Burgers & Beer for Sex Discrimination

SoCal Restaurant Chain Preferred Hiring Females Over Males, Federal Agency Charges

SAN DIEGO - Burgers & Beer, a chain of Southern California restaurants, violated federal law when it denied males with the same employment opportunities as their female counterparts, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced in lawsuit filed.

The EEOC contends that since at least 2015, male applicants and employees were disqualified from server positions based on sex. The company routinely rejected male applicants for those positions and maintained a server workforce that was over 90 percent female, the EEOC charged.

Such action violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (Case No. 3:18-cv-02014-DMS-NLS) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking injunctive relief to prohibit Burgers & Beer from engaging in future unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex, as well as compensatory and punitive damages for the victims.

"We encourage employers to examine their hiring practices to ensure their decisions comply with federal law," said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles District, whose jurisdiction includes San Diego County.

Christopher Green, director of the EEOC's San Diego's Local Office, added, "Denying someone the chance to compete for a job simply because of their gender violates federal law - even if the employer presumes customers would prefer to be surrounded by female servers. Presumed preferences are no excuse for any kind of discrimination. The EEOC will continue to pursue the eradication of this type of unlawful behavior."

According to its website, www.burgersandbeer.com, the company has six casual dining locations, specializing in high-quality burgers, throughout California's Imperial Valley.

Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, gender, and people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.