- An Arizona-based medical provider is being sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for discriminating against men in its hiring and for retaliating against one of the male applicants who complained about the alleged gender discrimination.
- Northern Arizona Orthopedics violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by hiring women over more-qualified male candidates for two roles, the EEOC said. The company also retaliated against a male applicant who "opposed the alleged discrimination" by telling him not to apply for any more jobs with organization, the EEOC said.
- The commission is seeking back pay, compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief aimed at preventing future discrimination.
Refusing to hire an applicant based on stereotypes and assumptions about what qualifies as "women's work" or "men's work" generally amounts to discrimination, as does failing to do so based on client or co-worker preferences, according to EEOC regulations. Title VII forbids covered employers from discriminating in every aspect of employment on the basis of gender, including hiring.
Although there is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) exception for gender, the EEOC has said that the exception should be interpreted narrowly. In fact, the EEOC offers only one example in its regulations where the commission will consider sex to be a BFOQ, and that is in instances where the employer is looking to hire an actor or actress.
The EEOC has filed several lawsuits in order to enforce legal protections for men. A private school in Baltimore agreed to pay $41,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging that it fired a male softball coach because of his gender. And The Children's Home in Tampa, Florida agreed to pay $18,000 to a male employee to settle EEOC allegations that it discriminated against him based on his sex after it allegedly questioned the man's ability to change diapers and work with pregnant women. In another instance, the commission alleged that an Arkansas Buffalo Wild Wings refused to hire men for bartender positions; the restaurant eventually settled the claims for $30,000.
Compliance training is important for all managers, including those responsible for hiring. Managers and supervisors are responsible for a large number of discrimination and retaliation claims, experts have said.
Some employers are going beyond compliance training and actively working to address biases. Some research has suggested that bias training can be successful when employees are taught that everyone has biases, and employees are allowed to examine their own in a non-judgmental atmosphere.