Hooters (Pro): A Frivolous Lawsuit
April 26, 2000
Hooters restaurants have been serving up beer and wings with busty babes for more than a decade. The patrons are predominately male and chances are good they aren't there just for a snack. The sexually provocative atmosphere draws them. It's made the restaurant a success but now that success is threatened by an action brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). That agency contends the restaurant chain practices discrimination in hiring only women. If the EEOC is successful, Hooters will have to hire men for 40 percent of the jobs now held by women; they will have to provide a $22 million settlement to pay claims of men who were never hired and will have to create a fund to enhance the skills and employment opportunities of Hooter Guys. Not only that, but Hooters will have to run ads in papers -- large ads -- inviting men to file a claim against them. Hooters maintains it is within the law and is protesting that the EEOC is abusing its power with such a suit. Michael Graham says that it is a "frivolous lawsuit," and defends his position in the following essay. Today, I am suing my gynecologist. Actually, he's NOT my gynecologist. That's why I'm suing him. He refused to see me -- can you believe it? I mean, this is the 1990s, and here this guy is, refusing to even schedule an appointment with me, just because I'm a man! He obviously hasn't heard of the EEOC. I have, which is why I am suing. According to news reports, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ordered Hooters Restaurant to "provide $22 million to the EEOC for distribution to male victims of the Hooters Girls hiring policy." $22 million to the "male victims?" Doc, you're gonna wish you had found SOMEwhere to take my pap smear... If you have never been to Hooters, then you're either a woman or a grown up. Hooters is a wildly successful restaurant chain whose cold beer and hot wings are served up by scantily-clad sorority girls, the kind of bimbettes who aren't so much actual waitresses as they are self-propelled WonderBras with drink trays. Their clientele are men, the kind of vapid, immature men who find these walking hair-dos attractive. So, the restaurant and the customers have cut a deal: you come in and buy our over-priced wings and ale, and we'll serve it up with T&A. Everybody's happy. Stupid, but happy. Well, except the federal government. It's stupid and miserable. In fact, according to news reports, the EEOC has spend the last four years trying to force Hooters to hire male Hooter Girls, because (this is a real quote, I swear!) "hiring male servers is in the national interest." You know, for an Administration like President Clinton's -- which hasn't been able to convince America that STOPPING GENOCIDE IN EUROPE is in "the national interest" -- one must wonder if they haven't bitten off more than they can chew: "Son, here are your orange hot pants, knotted, white T-shirt and falsies. The guys at table 8 need you -- and so does your country." This can't be true, you say . The people who run America aren't this stupid, you say. Somewhere, someone is going to be reasonable about this, you say. Obviously, you don't have a good lawyer. "You have a company that is openly discriminating on the basis of gender," said Chicago lawyer Steven Saltzman, who has filed a class action suit against the company on behalf of four "Hooter Guy" applicants. "If Hooters can do it, where does it stop?" Where does it stop, indeed. Can the government force a strip bar to hire Paul Prudhomme as their featured dancer? Saltzman is a little less adamant: "If its business is selling sex, it's a different situation. This is a restaurant serving food and drinks. The EEOC is following established case law." That's right: it is "established case law" in America that if you own a business and you pay your taxes and don't beat your children or listen to Rush Limbaugh, the government can STILL tell you who you must and must not hire. Saltzman, who will get at least one third of any cash settlement in his case, is (understandably) a staunch defender of liberty. He knows that the government has the power to force Hooters to hire men because the government has the power to force any American business owner to do business with anyone for any reason. I exaggerate, you say? Merely waxing rhetorical, you say? Ask the gang at the Odd Ball Cabaret in Los Angeles, a strip club that came under federal regulatory attack last year for violating the Americans With Disabilities Act. The violation? Well, the star attraction at the Odd Ball was a center stage shower stall where nubile lasses would lather up for the benefit of the "art lovers" in the crowd. However, the club was shut down because the shower stall was not WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE. Think of the pain and suffering of the paraplegic performers and exhibitionist amputees denied the right to perform public hygiene for LA's lonely perverts. And if the government can't force a strip club to hire the limbularly-challenged," or a randy restaurateur to hire mustachioed maitre d's, then we might as well tear up the Bill of Rights and flush it down the toilet. This, then, is the "national interest" the Clinton Administration is pursuing so doggedly: the right of the government to force businesses to hire people who are inherently non-employable. We all agree that business ought to hire people based solely on their ability to do a job. So, when a federal agency like the EEOC is formed, or a federal law like the ADA is passed, we think of the principle and figure it's a pretty good idea. Unfortunately, the result of giving the government the sort of power it has under these laws -- the right to, in essence, run your business for you -- the inevitable result is a bunch of bureaucrats telling the NBA to hire more short people. The reason the government has this coercive power is that you cannot be trusted, You (the business owner and former "citizen") might make hiring decisions for the wrong reasons: you might be a Klan member and refuse to hire blacks, or a Farrakhanite and refuse to hire Jews, or a capitalist and refuse to hire waiters for your pseudo-titty bar/restaurant because your entire customer base consists of horny men who are paying good money to hang out with scantily clad women. The EEOC doesn't care about any of that. The future of liberty in America depends on the government's ability to stop businesses from making rational hiring decisions. So, in addition to the $22 million, Hooters must also establish a scholarship fund to enhance job opportunities or education for men and provide sensitivity training to "teach Hooters' employees how to be more sensitive to men's needs." Guys, guys-wake up! If Hooter Girls were any MORE sensitive to men's needs, we'd have to send in the vice squad. Meanwhile, I'm looking for a good attorney to sue my fascist Ob/Gyn. I'm not taking this lying down...with or without stirrups.