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Sex Discrimination Outback: Steakhouse Settles Sex Discrimination Suit

Sex Discrimination Outback: Steakhouse Settles Sex Discrimination Suit

Popular restaurant chain Outback Steakhouse, known for its oversize portions and fried Bloomin’ Onions, has agreed to pay $19 million to settle a major sex discrimination class lawsuit. According to a press release from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), “Outback discriminated against its female employees with respect to the terms and conditions of employment, and denied women equal opportunities for advancement. The EEOC alleged in the lawsuit that female employees hit a glass ceiling at Outback and could not get promoted to the higher-level profit-sharing management positions in the restaurants. Moreover, the EEOC also alleged that women were denied favorable job assignments, particularly kitchen management experience, which was required for employees to be considered for the top management job in the restaurants.”

In addition to the multimillion dollar payout, the settlement calls for Outback Steakhouse to institute an application process for employees interested in management positions, and hire a Vice President of People and an outside consultant who will assist with compliance and the application system.

This is not the first payout from Outback. In 2001, the restaurant chain was ordered by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida to pay $2.2 million to Dena Zechella, a former employee. A jury determined that Outback paid the female Zechella less than a male employee with fewer qualifications performing the same job.

This past November, Outback parent company OSI Restaurant Partners, LLC hired Elizabeth (Liz) Smith as its new Chief Executive Officer. In an Associated Press story about the recent settlement, Smith said “the company doesn’t tolerate any form of discrimination and that she is committed to ‘very compelling and rewarding employment opportunities for all individuals.’” Hopefully, Smith can hold the company to her word.

 

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40 comments

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1:32PM PST on Jan 24, 2010

i hope i dont have to stop eating here.

9:41PM PST on Jan 6, 2010

I confess: I love Outback. But now I feel bad eating there. I guess that's for the best; those Bloomin Onions wreak havoc with my digestive system. But I'll miss those potatoes. *sigh* Oh well. There are other places to get potatoes.

8:35PM PST on Jan 6, 2010

It is hard to beleive that this was happeningin our so called Equal workforce. Companys such as this virtually blackmail their female employee;s as the employment market is so tough.
Regardless of what females reasons for working are they need their skills acknowledged.
Lets see what changes are put in place now.

10:38AM PST on Jan 6, 2010

Hopefully change is possible.

9:45AM PST on Jan 6, 2010

Never been to the establishment, because always too crowded, well now I won't even attempt. Kudos all around for the suit, why in this day and age these giant companies cut off their nose to spite their face is beyond me. All the knuckle draggers at the top who failed to nip this practice in the bud should be demoted or fired! I will certainly visit the website today.

8:51AM PST on Jan 6, 2010

Well, that cinches it - Roadhouse for the weekend dinner out. :)

8:53PM PST on Jan 5, 2010

People who plan to boycott, don't forget to write to Outback telling them why you won't support them anymore.

8:34PM PST on Jan 5, 2010

Antony T. states, "...the simple truth probably is, that most females are not full time workers, and only work for the purpose of benefitting their family lifestyle i.e. holiday pay , a new car, paid child education, etc, and as such what business is going to expend income on training for these people, as part timers, when there is a need to stay in profit..."

I truly had to read that a few times to see if what I read was accurate! Are you kidding me????? First of all, there is nothing "simple" about that so-called 'fact'. Secondly, I have 2 daughters that have worked for Outback for years, one if which still does. I know MANY of the employee's on a personal basis and some are single mothers raising their children on their income while others are college students paying their own way through college. I don't know the last time you were in an Outback but, one of the last people you will find waiting on tables is a female looking for 'fun money'....especially in this economy.

The glass ceiling is alive, well, and thriving not only at Outback but throughout corporate American folks! It is in our colleges, universities, retail establishments, and numerous organizations. Women as a whole need to band together, use their brains and natural talents (and believe me, we have many!) in order to fight for what we are rightly deserving of. This is the year 2010 people! This story SHOULD shock you...it's a disgrace to both males and females alike.

6:32PM PST on Jan 5, 2010

James D wrote "If women ran the world, it would not only be different, it would be incredibly better. They would also have the sense to choose the Best males to assist them, not those with the best connections."

Amen to all of that that!

5:49PM PST on Jan 5, 2010

Again,women have to bet treated like they can't do anything and therefore get the short end of the stick.And the sad thing is that women are as good as men in every way but the world is just so blind.

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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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