HOUSTON (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit March 1 against Morrison Management Specialists Inc., a division of Compass Group USA Inc., for allegations of denying a female shift supervisor a promotion to sous chef because of her gender.

"Employers' biased views and stereotypes about gender roles have no place in the workplace," said Rayford O. Irvin, district director of the Houston District Office of the EEOC, in a statement. "The Houston District will vigorously enforce the laws that prohibit sex discrimination and retaliation against workers who have the courage to stand against it."

The EEOC alleges Patricia Joyce worked at Morrison’s University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) location in Galveston, Texas. When a sous chef position opened up, Joyce applied and was interviewed. The EEOC notes two male applicants were also interviewed. The hiring manager ultimately chose one of the external male applicants, and allegedly told Joyce he did so because the company’s kitchen was a “man’s world.”

"Employers cannot act on their own stereotypical assumptions and perceptions about gender when making employment decisions,” Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC's Houston District Office, said in a statement. “Such conduct is illegal.”

The EEOC seeks injunctive relief against the defendants, reinstatement of Joyce into a sous chef position, back pay, plus compensatory damages and punitive damages for Joyce.

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