Federal officials say Morrison Management Specialists Inc., a division of Compass Group USA Inc., unlawfully denied a promotion a female employee to an open sous chef position because of her gender.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit alleging that Patricia Joyce was denied the promotion because she is a woman.
Joyce was employed the company’s University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) location in Galveston, Texas, as a female shift supervisor when a sous chef position opened.
The EEOC said Joyce applied and was interviewed for the position, along with two male applicants. In a meeting with Executive Chef Jeff Inman, Joyce learned that an external male applicant had been selected for the position.
Inman allegedly informed Joyce that he believed that the professional kitchen is a “man’s world” and he wanted to get it back to being that way. When Joyce objected, Inman told her she needed to transfer to another of the company’s locations because she was no longer a good fit at the Galveston location. He reiterated these beliefs in an email to her, the EEOC said.
Joyce filed a complaint with the company’s human resources department about Inman’s. Inman sent her a second email, again confirming his position that the kitchen is a “man’s world,” telling her that she would never be a sous chef with the company and she had better take the transfer to the other location.
He also very strongly objected to human resources having been contacted about him, telling her that he was a “god” at Compass Group USA and that the company would not believe her. As a result, Joyce was subjected to a compulsory transfer and demotion since, following the transfer, she was no longer a supervisor and experienced a cut in her pay, the EEOC said.
The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Galveston Division (Civil Action No. 3:18-cv-00057) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation processes.
The EEOC is seeking injunctive relief to prohibit the Compass Group USA from engaging in future unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex, instatement of Joyce into a sous chef position, back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for Joyce and any other relief the court deems proper.