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Job discrimination vs. Appeal, image, and tradition
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October 13th, 2012, 03:56 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
For this discussion, I will be using the restaurant chain Hooters as an example.
Hooters is known for its attractive waitresses that wear revealing outfits. Hooters argues that female sex appeal is central to its "appeal, image, and tradition". Hooters had been sued in the past for discrimination in hiring. In 1997, three men from the Chicago area sued Hooters after being denied employment at an Orland Park, Illinois, restaurant. Each of them was awarded $19,100. Four men who filed a similar lawsuit in Maryland received $10,350 each. The settlement allows Hooters to continue luring customers with a female staff of Hooters Girls. But the chain also agreed to create a few other support jobs, like bartenders and hosts, that must be filled without regard to sex
Wikipedia summarizes current exceptions to United States nondiscrimination laws nicely:
In employment discrimination law in the United States, employers are generally allowed to consider characteristics that would otherwise be discriminatory if they are bona fide occupational qualifications (BFOQ). For example, a manufacturer of men's clothing may lawfully advertise for male models. Hooters has argued a BFOQ defense, which applies when the "essence of the business operation would be undermined if the business eliminated its discriminatory policy"
Is Hooters justified in limiting its waiting staff to women-only? If so, does this show a flaw in the reasoning behind government regulation of employment, and that so-called "nondiscrimination" laws should be repealed? If not, then what limits, if any, should be placed on nondiscrimination laws to be sure that commerce is not harmed?
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