Job Ads and Discrimination: Restaurant Red Flag

Posted on: July 29, 2015 by RMS Hospitality

A Midtown New York Indian restaurant was fined $5,000 for posting a discriminatory job ad. Although the restaurant closed last year, they are still obligated to pay the penalty. This scenario goes to show the extent of NY Restaurant Liability and the importance of proper phrasing in crafting job ads.

Shalom Bombay posted an ad in October of 2013 on Craigslist that was seeking an “experienced Indian waiter or waitress.” Although it may seem like common sense for an Indian restaurant to employ an Indian server, the law doesn’t allow discrimination based on national origin.

The Commission on Human Rights had been scouring Craigslist in order catch unknowing restaurant owners for these types of violations. Another offense includes writing “waitress” or “waiter” instead of “waitperson.”

Following Shalom Bombay’s ad, the Commission filed a complaint which lead to a trial hearing on April 15, 2015. However, the owners didn’t appear in court as their restaurant had closed a year prior. Although there wasn’t a trial, the judge reduced the recommended fine from $7,500 to $5,000, citing that there was no grief from the public and no evidentiary support for how many people the ad reached or that any qualified applicants were turned away.

A spokesperson for the Commission stated “The commission’s new leadership, as of February 2015, is currently assessing its investigatory strategy to implement more comprehensive and strategic investigating to proactively root out systemic discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations and expand the commission’s testing programs in these areas.”

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