In August, Jillian’s agreed to settle the lawsuit filed against them by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with a group of over 100 men who worked or applied to work at the Indianapolis location. According to the suit filed against the Louisville, Ky.-based restaurant chain, hiring managers discriminated against men who wanted to be servers, unfairly preventing them from taking or transferring into the potentially high-paying tipped positions.
Although the suit, filed by the U.S. EEOC in 1999, maintained that the discrimination was a conscious, intentional and nationwide corporate policy, the settlement was limited to workers in Indianapolis. “This was a case of egregious and systemic segregation emanating from the very top of the company,” said Danny Harter, Indianapolis EEOC district director.
Although they chose to settle, Jillian’s has flatly denied any wrongdoing in the case, maintaining that there was no intentional segregation of jobs. Under the terms of the settlement, however, Jillian’s also agreed to:
• Pay $10,000 in administrative expenses to locate the men who should receive compensation.
• Use fair hiring practices at every location nationwide and use gender-neutral job descriptions when seeking new workers.
• Post non-discrimination notices in all stores nationwide and on all job applications. • Train managers in fair employment practices and legislation.
• Maintain records of all applicants and hirings and report any complaints of discrimination to the EEOC.
Brenda Feis, an attorney for Jillian’s in the case, said that many of these practices were already in place and are consistent with basic EEOC practices.
If you believe you qualify for compensation in the case, you must file a timely claim with the EEOC. Contact the Indianapolis office at 317-226-5483 for claim forms and further details.