Now you know: rent two not one units for employee lodging

For a seasonal posting in Park City, Utah, Ruby Tuesday invited only female associates to apply as servers, citing a wish not to require males and females to room together in the company-provided housing it had lined up (and no doubt swayed at least in part by legal risks to which it would be exposed by doing so). Expensive lesson: in a settlement with the EEOC, it will pay $100,000 to two male servers who say they wanted a summer assignment at the resort. [Daily Times]


  • Um. I gotta go with the EEOC on this one. If a company offers subsidized housing to someone based upon sex, it is discrimination and it is unlawful. I am unsure what Ruby Tuesday was thinking. Does anyone think that, if the accommodations had been for men only, it would not have been actionable?

    the moral is not that Ruby Tuesday should rent two apartments. It is that Ruby Tuesday should have offered a cash subsidy and allowed its workers to live where they chose.

    • Allan, I think you missed the point. They didn’t want men and women sharing the same accommodations. That’s why they will have to rent two places next time (or pay them to find their own accommodations).

  • Now THAT is what I call an increase in the minimum wage!

  • $50K for a summer job! Where do I sign up? I’ve got almost enough vacation time accrued to cover that, and can take leave without pay for the rest. At that rate, it might be worth it to just do that job year round. Listening to folks b***h that the potato soup is cold would be a real lessening of the stress of listening to real life concerns.

  • Allan your comment reminds me of this de Tocqueville quote:

    “When inequality of conditions is the common law of society, the most marked inequalities do not strike the eye; when everything is nearly on the same level, the slightest are marked enough to hurt it. Hence the desire of equality always become more insatiable in proportion as equality is more complete.”

    How insatiable our desire for equality has become that the EEOC is motivated and funded to fight the inequality presented by a small number of servers being denied a short-term gig in one of America’s toniest resort towns.

    Or, stated only somewhat differently, having achieved their aims, our employment discrimination laws now turn their attention to the trifling.

    • I don’t think Ruby Tuesday’s conduct here was utterly repugnant, but it certainly goes beyond trifling. Jobs with the rule “only people of gender X need apply” were some of the basic things the EEOC was setup to address. Discrimination generally only happens as the cumulative product of many small injustices.

      While dealing with the housing situation may be complicated, it really doesn’t take much knowledge of the law to realize that refusing to hire men for your job opening is probably a legal landmine. Any manager with the most basic awareness of the existence of employment law ought to be able to guess that there’s a problem there.

  • Dem,


  • Allan

    Apparently you’ve never been to / lived in / worked in high end resort towns.

    I happened to pass through Jackson Hole Wyoming on a road trip that included Yellowstone Natl Park (side note – the GF loved shopping for the couple of hours we were there).

    I was struck by the number of businesses that had “Help Wanted” signs that INCLUDED the phrase “Housing Provided for F/T”, “Housing Available”, or similar.

    In posting about this observation on FB later, a hiking buddy related how he’d worked in Jackson hole for a summer and noted that it was common for service employers to provide housing for the seasonal workers. The restaurant he worked at provided a dive apartment above the establishment, else he never would have gone there.

    In places like Jackson Hole, or I would imagine, Park City, seasonal service workers simply can not afford to live there on typical wages – it would be a net loss if they had to pay out of pocket.

    Also – as for the cash subsidy….hmmm….have to pay social security on that, have to pay other payroll taxes on that, employees have to pay social security on that, plus state and fed income taxes on that….or get an in kind service that Ruby can probably get at a better rate AND is a no hassle, no fuss, no muss for the employee. Which do you think is ACTUALLY going to attract seasonal employees to come work for you?

  • Allan,

    Do you run a business? How many employees? Honestly just curious.

  • I would think that the “in-kind” service in the form of housing is taxable. If housing were tax-free, I would think it would be a highly sought after benefit.

    Ras, I own in all or in part two businesses with 10 or so employees, depending on the season.

    I am not saying that Ruby Tuesday should not have offered housing. And I am not saying that it should have offered to house separate sexes in the same housing. All I am saying is that society made a choice that sex discrimination was wrong and what Ruby Tuesday did was sex discrimination. An argument can be made that the law is bad. An argument cannot be made that the law was not broken.

    • Allan, I would expect a business owner such as yourself to prioritize better.

      As DEM above eloquently noted, why spend precious resources chasing trivialities? We have trouble enough doing the basics like protecting our borders and inner cities.

      • Like ships passing in the night.

        This is discrimination, pure and simple. That is my point.

        There are various forms of discrimination that are not illegal. Perhaps you would like sex discrimination to be one of those. There may be a valid slippery slope argument to be made, as it seems in this case.

        Bottom line: for the sake of fairness, society has chosen to put the right not to be discriminated against above the right to make prudent business decisions. I don’t foresee that changing in the near future.

  • Discrimination……..or Ruby had available slots in its provided accommodations for females and didn’t have any for males. To have taken on an extra increment of male housing would have been prohibitively expensive, making it a non-starter.

  • And if Ruby’s had planned to alternate – women this year, men next year, etc – would that have been considered discriminatory under the law?

  • If males and females are the same, why do they need to provide different housing?