A Buffalo Wild Wings franchisee has agreed to pay three male employees $30,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging they were victims of gender discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced Tuesday.
The EEOC had filed the lawsuit against R Wings R Wild, a franchisee with operations in Arkansas and Oklahoma. It accused the operator of refusing to hire the three as bartenders because they were men and the company prefers to staff its bars with women, presumably because of the appeal to male patrons. The allegations were directed at two of R Wings’ restaurants, in Little Rock, Ark., and Del City, Okla.
The legal action was unusual because it asserts men were the victims of sexual discrimination. In most cases of gender bias, the alleged victims are women.
"Sex discrimination happens to both males and females," Faye Williams, regional attorney of the EEOC's Memphis District Office, said in a statement. "It is equally illegal to deny a male employment because of his gender."
The cash payment includes what the men would have been paid, the value of the benefits they were denied and punitive damages.
The settlement also requires the two Buffalo Wings branches to conduct anti-discrimination training.