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PRESS RELEASE
6-29-17

EEOC Sues Gold, Inc. / Sammy’s Gentlemen’s Club For Sex Discrimination

Company Refused to Hire Male Job Applicant Because of His Sex and Failed to Maintain Required Records of Job Applications, Federal Agency Charges

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Gold, Inc., d/b/a Sammy's Gentlemen's Club, a gentlemen's club in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., violated federal law by refusing to hire a male applicant because of his gender and by failing to maintain federally required employment records, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, on Oct. 5, 2015, James Sharp attempted to apply for a position as a bartender at Sammy's Fort Walton Beach location after seeing an advertisement online. Sharp went to Sammy's to apply in person, but the manager allegedly stated that Sammy's did not hire male bartenders. Although Sharp had bartending and management experience, he was not allowed to apply for the position. Sammy's subsequently hired at least two females for bartending positions at that location. According to the suit, during 2015 Sammy's employed 17 females and no males in bartender positions at its Fort Walton Beach location.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating against any job applicant because of his or her sex. Also, the EEOC charged the company with failing to maintain employment applications and other records, as required by Title VII.

The EEOC filed suit [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Gold Inc. d/b/a Sammy's Gentlemen's Club, Case No. 3:17-cv-00439] in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Pensacola Division, after an investigation was completed by the EEOC's Mobile Local Office and after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The agency seeks monetary damages, including back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief to prevent further discrimination.

"Although sex-based discrimination against women may be more common than against men, employers must realize that no person, male or female, can be denied employment based on sex, except in the rare instances when gender is a bona fide occupational qualification," said EEOC Regional Attorney Marsha L. Rucker. "When hiring decisions are made based on an applicant's sex, the EEOC will act to enforce the federal laws that were enacted to prohibit such discrimination."

District Director Delner Franklin-Thomas added, "Gender discrimination in the workplace continues to be a major problem, even more than 50 years after Congress passed Title VII, which made it illegal nationwide. All job applicants deserve to be considered based on their qualifications and not their gender."

The EEOC's Birmingham District Office has jurisdiction over Alabama, Mississippi (all but 17 counties in the Northern part of Mississippi), and the Florida Panhandle (including Pensacola).

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.