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May 26, 2015

By Eric B. Meyer

Here are 100,000 reasons to take all forms of discrimination seriously. And, that includes discrimination against men.

Remember my January post about the EEOC suing Ruby Tuesday, alleging that the restaurant chain discriminated against male employees for temporary assignments? Well, that case just settled for $100K!

But, wait! There’s more…

What the EEOC said

Look at this from a recent EEOC press release:

The company will provide training to all of its managers and employees on Title VII and job assignments in the nine-state area covered by the EEOC’s lawsuit for the duration of the three-year decree. This includes an estimated 1,600 managers and employees at 49 different locations. Ruby Tuesday will also report its training efforts to the EEOC, and post reminders of this resolution on its website and at its restaurants.

“Ruby Tuesday will take affirmative steps to make sure its managers do not make gender-based employment decisions again, even if it only involves temporary summer assignments,” said EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo. “All managers and employees should know that making personnel decisions based on an employee’s sex is rarely permitted under federal law.”

What employers need to do

I read and review many employee handbooks. Generally, most anti-harassment policies I see meet the minimum requirements.

But, more often than not, companies take a cookie-cutter approach and focus on sexual harassment, while giving short-shrift to other forms of unlawful discrimination.

I get it. Hostile work environment claims tend to be the ones that most often affect the existing workforce. So, grab the low-hanging fruit.

But, if you have one of these generic policies, consider an enhanced version (at least for managers), which addresses some of the less common — but equally unlawful ways — in which bias can create problems for you and your workforce. And pair that policy with training to drive point home.

You’ll be glad that you did.

You can get more from Eric B. Meyer on his The Employer Handbook blog.

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