McSorley’s. It’s an iconic New York City bar that was “men-only” until 1969. Though the establishment now recognizes that the change was “for its own good,” it wasn’t initially voluntary. McSorley’s and similar bars were forced to open their doors to females after Faith Seidenberg, an attorney, and a friend sued the bar for gender discrimination after being kicked out for being female. Seidenberg passed away recently and it is a good reason to take another look at gender equality.
Today, it seems laughable that a female would be kicked out of a bar purely because of her gender, and McSorley’s former status as a men-only bar seems nothing more than a memorable part of its history. We’ve come a long way in 45 years. But we’re not quite there yet. Wrongful gender discrimination still exists and may be far more prevalent than we like to think in the employment setting.
Gender Discrimination in the Employment Setting
Employment is one of the areas that has had the greatest difficulty shedding the ingrained gender discrimination of its past. Most employers try to do their part to treat employees of all genders equally, but when they don’t there are New York and federal laws that provide for remedies against those employers.
New York’s human rights Law Sect. 219 prohibits employers with at least four employees from discriminating against one or more of its employees. Federal law provides the same ban where the employer has at least 15 employees. What constitutes “discrimination” has been the subject of many lawsuits, but at its core involves an adverse action against an employee because of their gender.
Adverse Actions That Fall Within Gender Discrimination
There are many types of adverse actions ranging from firing to not hiring to demoting. Similarly, there are many ways employers demonstrate the gender-based cause of their adverse action. In rare situations, the employer will expressly state that the adverse decision was because of the employee’s gender. More often, the discriminatory intent is more subtle, revealed by something like a hiring pattern (e.g. never hiring males despite receiving applications from qualified ones). An experienced employment discrimination attorney can help prove discriminatory intent in these more difficult cases.
Though women have historically been discriminated against more frequently because of their gender, gender discrimination is equally prohibited against men. For example, a lawsuit was recently filed against Ruby Tuesday for alleged employment discrimination against males when hiring for temporary bartender and server positions in Park City, Utah. The company expressly told applicants that it was only seeking females. Its rationale was that it was providing housing and did not want to have to find co-ed housing.
Can We Be of Assistance?
Employees and applicants of both genders sometimes delay in calling an attorney because they don’t want to rock the boat, don’t believe they can win against a corporation or are simply unsure of whether their employer’s actions were permissible under the law. The experienced employment discrimination attorneys at Joseph & Norinsberg help clients navigate these issues and concerns on a daily basis. Call our offices at (212) JUSTICE or e-mail us at [email protected] today to learn more about your rights and options.