Lawry's Sex Discrimination Case Settled

Case involved claims company barred men from waiting tables

The Lawry's restaurant chain agreed to pay more than $1 million to settle a federal lawsuit that claimed it barred men from waiting tables at its high-end steakhouses.

The settlement covers all of Lawry's restaurants in Dallas, Southern California, Las Vegas, Chicago and overseas.

The EEOC sued the company in 2006, three years after a busboy at Lawry's Las Vegas restaurant claimed he was barred from a more lucrative serving job.

At the time, Lawry's waitresses could earn $25,000 to $56,000 a year, depending on tips, while busboys and others typically earned about 40 percent less.

Pasadena-based Lawry's Restaurants Inc. was accused of violating Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that bars sex discrimination.

Under the consent decree, Lawry's agreed to pay $500,000 to men who were refused Lawry's serving jobs. Several hundred people might be eligible for compensation, Park said.

Lawry's also agreed to pay $225,000 to train all of its workers to comply with discrimination laws and more than $300,000 for an advertising campaign to let men know that server jobs are available, Park said.

The company also agreed to appoint an equal employment opportunity officer to ensure it complies with the three-year decree.

Rich Cope, Lawry's director of marketing, said the company was pleased to resolve the issue.

"For over 85 years, Lawry's has been an industry leader in improving the quality of employment with our co-workers and continues to be committed to providing a workplace free of discrimination," he said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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