FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO WAITRESS
By Erica Russo
The ACLU, the EEOC, and several women scorned have filed discrimination suits in the past against various restaurants, with mixed results. The latest such lawsuit is being filed by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, whose suit against the Cipriani family restaurateurs quotes one of their managers as saying, "We don't have any girls in any of our places."
To be fair, he must have meant, "We don't have any girls to wait tables," since he allegedly then suggested that the women apply for the prestigious role of hat-check girls, or even cashiers.
The precedent in such cases is unclear. A series of suits filed by the EEOC in the early '90's had mixed results: in one, for example, the restaurant won when it demonstrated that few qualified female servers had applied. Another--Joe's Stone Crab in Miami Beach--lost, and was ordered to pay $150,000 in lost wages to four female applicants. The federal judge noted that the argument that male waiters are classier was "at best, a quaint anachronism."
Joe's, which is appealing the decision, is owned by a mother-daughter team.
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