What to do if as a male bartender I get passed up when better shirts become available because I am a guy?

UPDATED: May 20, 2012

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What to do if as a male bartender I get passed up when better shirts become available because I am a guy?

I am a male bartender working for a small local bar for the past 7 years. My shift is Monday night and Saturday Happy Hour 4-8. Time and time again a better shift becomes available and I always get passed up for it because they said I am a guy and they want a girl working the weekend shifts. Recently the Friday and Saturday shift became available. I asked if I could get the Saturday night shift . Instead the owner gave it to his daughter who has not even work there a year. Customers say that I should say something but I feel if I do I might loose my job completely.

Asked on May 20, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is illegal to discriminate in employment against an employee because of his or her sex--so, for example, to give a shift to woman instead of a man simply because he's a man. It's also illegal to retaliate against someone for filing an employment discrimination claim. On the face of it, therefore, you seem to have an employment discrimination claim and you may be entitled to monetary compensation.

Complicating matters is that there is no law against favoring a family member, regardless of her gender or experience. Therefore, if you were to seek to bring a complaint or action about this most recent occurence, you would likely lose--the owner could state a non-discriminatory reason (favoring his daughter). You will need instances which do not entail giving shifts to family members (or to more experienced bartenders, or to bartenders with better performance reviews or the like) to either bring a complaint to the state equal rights or equal opportunity commission, or file your own lawsuit; that is, you need examples of when you did not get a shift and the only plausible reason was gender-based.

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