EEOC was right to combat bias at restaurant Cal Thomas...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 11, 2002

EEOC was right to combat bias at restaurant

Cal Thomas may see the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) litigation against Joe's Stone Crab as "ridiculous" ("Double dose of legal lunacy," Opinion

Commentary, July 31), but it is unlikely that many women in Miami's food-server community would agree.

Before the EEOC stepped in to challenge the restaurant's hiring practices, women had virtually no chance of being hired there.

For example, in the five-year period before the EEOC's involvement, the restaurant hired 108 people to wait tables. Not a single woman was among them.

What was behind this all-male hiring practice? After listening to witnesses on both sides, a federal judge decided that heavy, crab-laden trays had nothing to do with it. The answer, said the judge, was simply that "Joe's engaged in blatant, prolonged sex discrimination."

The restaurant has, twice now, sought to get the judge's finding overturned -- and twice the appellate court has rejected that effort.

Was the owner of Joe's a woman? Yes. Should the EEOC look the other way because a business is owned by a woman? We think not.

And should Joe's get a pass because women quite rationally stopped making the futile gesture of applying to Joe's when they knew they had no chance of being hired? Absolutely not. The civil rights laws do not exempt the employer whose discrimination is so notorious as to deter women from applying.

Interestingly enough, once the EEOC challenged the restaurant's hiring practices, things changed -- Joe's immediately started hiring women.

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when Mr. Thomas would not have been served crabs by a woman. The fact that a woman served him on his recent trip to Joe's is a reminder that discrimination lawsuits can make a difference.

Delner Franklin-Thomas

Miami

The writer is a regional attorney at the EEOC's Miami District Office.

Ban on motorbikes defies common sense

OK, let me get this straight. The City Council outlawed the use of dirt bikes because a number of people rode them through the streets in full violation of existing traffic laws. And they included motor scooters in the ban because even fewer people rode those around in violation of those same laws ("Uneasy riders of Baltimore," Aug. 5).

Using that logic (if you want to call it that), the City Council might as well outlaw dogs and dog owners (because God knows evidence of their violations is all over the place), car stereos (because people seem to think they're public address systems) and, for that matter, cars (because they're always violating existing laws and common sense).

Once again, the City Council has provided us with another example of unnecessary legislation that punishes the many for the failure of a few.

They've also provided us yet another reason to move to the county.

John Phelan

Baltimore

Motorbikes create noise pollution

I have no objection to people using motorized scooters or mopeds or whatever these noisy little bikes are called as a means of legitimate transportation ("Uneasy riders of Baltimore," Aug. 5).

My problem is with the idiots who scoot all around my neighborhood at all hours of the day or night, going as fast as they can and creating as much noise as they can.

You can tell at a glance they are not commuters on their way to or from work. They may not be drug dealers, but they are noise dealers.

This is noise pollution, and it's tremendously annoying.

Bea Haskins

Baltimore

Helicopters show security is shaky

I read with interest The Sun's recent articles concerning the unapproved landings of helicopters in downtown Baltimore ("City halts charter helicopter landings," Aug. 1).

The articles allege that these landings went unnoticed and unreported for a number of months, and were only "investigated by complaint."

One can only shudder when we are assured that "homeland security" is improving -- and yet helicopters of "unknown origin" can land downtown, "unnoticed and not reported."

Even one helicopter filled with enemy commandos and appropriate firepower could do considerable harm to the downtown areas -- which are usually loaded with tourists at this time of year.

I sure hope Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge or one of his aides reads The Sun -- as, given such laxity, we have a considerable way to go before our "homeland" can feel secure.

Bob Gray

Baltimore

Stopping the greedy is Democrats' role

Here's a message to the Democratic Leadership Council: Al Gore did not lose the 2000 election because he was "anti-business" ("Gore denies criticism he is anti-business," Aug. 4).

I did not vote for Mr. Gore, and neither did many of my friends, because he might as well have run as a Republican. He was so busy trying to make himself indistinguishable from George W. Bush that voting for him was a waste of time.

If the Democrats really want to regain control of this country, they are going to have to go back to their historic mission -- protecting the majority of people from money-crazed, greedy business executives.

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