Waiters who sued the Pasadena-based Lawry's restaurant chain for sex discrimination because the eateries allegedly preferred to hire women to wait tables are getting a nice tip: The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission pressured Lawry's into settling the class action suit for a little more than $1 million.
In addition to dishing out the cash, Lawry's will have to hire — gasp! — men and start an outreach campaign to get the not-so-fair sex into server roles at its locations, most of which are local.
A Lawry's spokesman told CNN that having women in server roles — with men handling chef, carver, and busboy duties — was a tradition dating back to 1938, when, he says, women were an anomaly as servers. Following that line of argument, the practice was a progressive novelty that has been turned upside down in the modern era.
It's a strange bit of push-back in the wars to diversify America's workplaces. It's certainly not just if women aren't considered equally for those chef gigs too. But does this settlement take equality too far? Does it set a hard-line precedent?
So, we're just curious, is Hooters going to have to put men in those orange shorts? Will every nightclub in town have to place equal numbers of male and female go-go dancers on those elevated, view-from-below platforms? Plumbing contractors — do they need more female outreach to diversify those always-too-low plumbers' pants? For the love of God, viva la difference.