NCFM President files a class action sex discrimination lawsuit against the Los Angeles Fours Seasons Hotel Westlake

January 2, 2013

sex discrimination

By NCFM Secretary Al Rava, Esq.

NCFM president Harry Crouch is following on the footsteps of NCFM vice-president Marc Angelucci who, in 2007, prevailed in the landmark California Supreme Court “Ladies’ Night” sex discrimination case of Marc Angelucci v. Century Supper Club (2007) 41 Cal.4th 160.  Angelucci ruled that men who were charged more than women to enter a supper club did not have to ask the offending business for equal treatment in order to have standing to file a sex discrimination lawsuit.  NCFM’s amicus brief to the California Supreme Court was instrumental in the Angelucci decision.

The latest NCFM-related lawsuit to champion equal rights for men and women and to eradicate archaic and illegal Ladies’ Night promotions, was filed by NCFM president Harry Crouch on New Year’s Eve.  Harry filed a class action lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on behalf of himself and all similarly situated men and women against the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village (California) for its weekly Girls’ Night Out promotion that treated male and female patrons unequally.

On Girls’ Night Out, held every Wednesday for over a year in the Four Seasons lounge, Four Seasons provided female patrons with free food (appetizers) and 1/2 priced beverages, while denying the free food and discounted beverages to male patrons.  Four Seasons provided the free food and discounted beverages to only female patrons based solely on sex, it did not matter how wealthy, how well-fed, or well-hydrated Four Seasons female patrons were in comparison to its male patrons to qualify for the free food and discounted beverages.

As set forth in the class action complaint, []:

Despite the many State of California anti-discrimination statutes, unanimous California Supreme Court opinions, California Attorney General and Department of Fair Employment and Housing actions, and California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) regulations that prohibit California businesses from treating patrons unequally based on their sex, and specifically condemn and outlaw Ladies’ Night and Ladies’ Day promotions that treat female and male patrons unequally, defendants brazenly advertised and employed a recurring Girls’ Night Out promotion for over a year that treated female and male unequally based solely on their sex.

Mr. Crouch’s class action includes female patrons as part of the class because, as set forth in the below excerpts from the complaint, Ladies’ Night promotions harm women as well as men:

“Koire also ruled “the Legislature established that arbitrary sex discrimination by business is per se injurious” and “differential pricing based on sex may be generally detrimental to both men and women, because it reinforces harmful stereotypes.”  Id. at 33.  Among the harmful stereotypes detrimental to the advancement of equal rights for women and men that defendants’ Girls’ Night Out perpetuated include: (1) all women are genetically incapable of earning as much money as men; (2) all women are genetically predisposed to not being able to pay as much as men for the same thing; (3) all women enjoy being subsidized by strange men at hotel bars and restaurants; (4) all adult women enjoy being treated like little girls by not being required to pay the full price that adult men are required to pay for the same goods or services, (5) all women enjoy drinking discounted beverages and eating free food in front of men who paid full price for the same types of drinks or food; (6) all women welcome and enjoy a hotel treating them as little more than sexual bait for the hotel’s male customers; and (7) all women and men are expected to just stand around and take it like sheared sheep when a business charges one sex more than the other sex for the exact same thing.

Defendants’ archaic Girls’ Night Out promotion, apparently implemented to benefit the “little women,” is the hallmark of traditionalistic thinkers who may advise a young woman her best chance for a happy life is to ace her home economics class and learn how to make queso from Velveeta in order to catch a good man.  Not only has the California Supreme Court expressed its disapproval of the treatment of women through Ladies’ Night promotions, but the United States Supreme Court has similarly weighed in about “romantic paternalism” directed at women.  In Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677, 684 (1973), wherein the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the U.S. military must provide its female members with the same housing and medical benefits as it provides its male members, Justice William J. Brennan Jr. wrote that this is another example of one of those types of traditional sex discrimination that ostensibly appears to benefit women, but “rationalized by an attitude of ‘romantic paternalism’ which, in practical effect, put women, not on a pedestal, but in a cage.”

Defendants’ Girls’ Night Out promotion caused discontent, animosity, harm, resentment, or envy among the sexes, and is especially troubling, arbitrary, and invidious at a time when the depressed economy put a higher proportion of men out of work than women.  For example, when Harry Crouch attended the Girls’ Night Out in March of 2010, the national unemployment rate for men was higher than it was for women, standing at 10% for men and only 8% for women.

During Girls’ Night Out, Four Seasons would have provided female millionaires such as Nancy Pelosi or Sarah Palin with discounted drinks and free food, but would have denied the same to combat veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  Or, multi-millionaire Oprah Winfrey could have traveled from her Montecito, California mansion and have been given deeply discounted drinks and free food on Girls Night Out, while unemployed male construction workers would have had to pay full price for their beverages and be denied the free food.  On Girls’ Night Out, a female defense attorney pulling down a six figure annual salary would have received discounted drinks and free food, but a minimum wage male file clerk, working for the same firm and sitting at the same Four Seasons table, would have had to pay full price for the same types of beverages and food.

NCFM member Steve Frye had earlier filed a individual lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court, against this same Four Seasons Hotel for its Girls’ Night Out promotion, also alleging sex discrimination for treating male and female patrons unequally.  That case is pending.

sex discrimination

 Sex Discrimination works both ways.

Sex Discrimination is just as  harmful to men if not more so than it is to women.

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29 Responses to NCFM President files a class action sex discrimination lawsuit against the Los Angeles Fours Seasons Hotel Westlake

  1. Jen Mathews on October 30, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    So do you guys make a living just going and suing places that have Ladies’ Nights? You care about $$$, not men’s and women’s gender inequalities. Spend your time helping the cause rather than raking the dough into your own pockets and maybe you would be more believable.

  2. Marc A on January 4, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    Justmanup, NCFM filed a successful lawsuit against the state of CA that overturned the discriminatory laws that exclude battered men from state funded services. NCFM is still working on that issue. NCFM was involved in a similar lawsuit in Minnesota. NCFM does lots of things. The pricing discrimination is one of many. it isn’t taking any resources away from NCFM, in fact some of the plaintiffs donate money to NCFM when they win. Back in 2004 we raised lots of money from these Ladies’ Nights lawsuts and used the money to get paternity fraud victims to Sacramento to testify about paternity fraud, and we changed the law that way. I support this lawsuit.

    • Steve F on January 9, 2013 at 10:46 AM

      Gee, you would think that the braintrust at Four Seasons and other such businesses, especially those with Ca. Liquor Licenses, would bother to read the requirements, guidelines and restrictions of said License which clearly indicates its unlawful to have gender based promotions….shame on them and even less of an excuse for this unlawful act(s)

      • Jen Mathews on November 1, 2013 at 6:42 PM

        Nice of you to join in on the conversation Steve. Do you just scan local papers for bars to go and sue? Do we really need to be spending the taxpayer money litigating drink specials? Nice quick way to make money for you I suppose.

    • Jen Mathews on November 1, 2013 at 6:38 PM

      I support the other things you do but most, if not all, of these companies and bars you are suing are just ignorant of the law. What about the cases (I’ve read many of yours) in which it is a small business owner? A $10K lawsuit over something like this could seriously sink their business!! I get your point but you would make less enemies if you went to business that had ladies’ specials and informed them of the California law rather than not giving them a chance and smacking them with a lawsuit. Doing that makes you look like opportunists. Also, not a good idea to back Chris Brown.

  3. Marc A on January 4, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    NCFM filed a successful lawsuit against the state of CA that overturned the discriminatory laws that exclude battered men from state funded services. NCFM is still working on that issue. NCFM was involved in a similar lawsuit in Minnesota. NCFM does lots of things. The pricing discrimination is one of many. it isn’t taking any resources away from NCFM, in fact some of the plaintiffs donate money to NCFM when they win. Back in 2004 we raised lots of money from these Ladies’ Nights lawsuts and used the money to get paternity fraud victims to Sacramento to testify about paternity fraud, and we changed the law that way. I support this lawsuit.

  4. Justmanup on January 4, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    (I hit return and posted an incomplete response)

    Sue, I think a sexist happy hour is not a very serious problem when considering the big picture if how men are treated in US society.

  5. Mike McCormick on January 4, 2013 at 2:04 AM

    Way to go Harry. So let’s carry the scenario out a bit further…Rich lady gets trashed on 1/2 price drinks and free food, picks up and heads home with male file clerk for some further adult frivolity. On waking the next morning she decides she didn’t give informed consent because of her impaired state. Male file clerk ends up in prison for rape, and Four Seasons pays out millions to rich lady because their promotion ultimately led to consensual but at the same time somehow, through the magic of an expansive legal definition, unwanted and uninformed sex.

    The Four Seasons should give NCFM a big donation/settlement and thank you note just for exposing what could ultimately turn out to be a set up that could cost them a whole lot more money. And in the process maybe everyone will end up with 1/2 price drinks and free food. Of course only after signing a hold harmless agreement with the hotel prior to entering the lounge. I see a job offer from the Four Seasons risk management department in your future.

    You’re a hero Harry, keep up the great work!

    • Al Rava on January 4, 2013 at 8:26 AM

      This is a great comment.

      • NCFM on January 4, 2013 at 11:07 AM

        That’s because my friend Mike is a great guy. I’m thinking of resigning from NCFM and becoming a file clerk just for the adult frivolity of it, without the jail part. As absurd would be the Four Seasons reading Mike’s comment and sending us a thank you letter for saving them millions of dollars. Some people don’t appreciate the help. However, the risk management job intrigues me…

        Harry Crouch, President NCFM

  6. Bob Yourell on January 3, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    Big kudos to Harry Crouch for taking on these issues. This is time-consuming work. I’m glad he can handle the abuse heaped on by people that don’t understand the point of this action. I wonder if those same critics would be defending separate but equal facilities if it were 1950? There’s a bar in Rosarito that offers a Men’s Night and a Ladies’ Night. What do you think? Is that good enough? I can think of some problems with that in practice.

    • Sue on January 3, 2013 at 7:02 PM

      Is that the “Rosarito” in Canada or Bangladesh?

      The answer depends on the location of “Rosarito,”or is every reader expected to know where the “Rosarito” is that is referred to in this posting?

      • NCFM on January 4, 2013 at 11:09 AM

        Mexico… it’s in Mexico.

        • Sue on January 4, 2013 at 12:23 PM

          Then it wouldn’t be actionable. Mexico’s laws are different than California’s which are different than Michigan’s, etc.

  7. Gordon E. Finley, Ph.D. on January 3, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Hey, what about a “Gentlemen’s Night” with the same perks for men and costs for women.

    Perhps all those Southern California “Cougars” will flock like flies for a shot at a hot younger man!

    Separate but Equal has been legislated before, why not now?

    • McDrake on January 3, 2013 at 2:43 PM

      Really, separate has never been equal! I am sure they will short cut the Gentleman”s Night since they have already shown a total disrespect for men, in spite of the Law!

    • Sue on January 3, 2013 at 2:53 PM

      Yeah, sure, a “Gentlemen’s Night” to counterbalance a “Ladies’ Night.” And why not allow “Caucasians’ Night” if it’s counterbalanced with an “African-Americans’ Night.” Or, a “Jews’ Night” followed by a “Muslims’ Night” followed by a “Christians’ Night” etc.

      I don’t think so.

    • Harry Crouch on January 3, 2013 at 3:51 PM

      Good one Gordon! I should have thought of that. Lots of Cougars here. Probably more in Florida. Also probably not against the law in Florida. We should try it there first!

  8. Justmanup on January 3, 2013 at 1:09 AM

    NCFM, If you really want to make a difference, file a class action suit on behalf of all married men against the state marriage laws that treat married men as subservient to women.

    Then you would be really accomplishing something.

    • Sue on January 3, 2013 at 9:16 AM

      That would be a huge waste of NCFM’s time and money.

      Besides, if you think this would really accomplish something, why don’t you bring such a class action lawsut against state marriage laws that treat married men as subservient to women. You may have the required standing to file such a class action lawsuit while NCFM would not, because you as an indidvidual can get married, whereas the NCFM organization cannot.

      Please let us know if you file such a lawsuit and what you accomplish by doing so.

    • Justmanup on January 4, 2013 at 9:43 AM

      Sue, I think the intent of my remark was not clear. I’ll spell out more explicitly what I want to say:

      NCFM should not waste time on filing class action lawsuits about happy hour or ladies night. These are smaller financial annoyances that do not have a substantial negative effect on men in general. What NCFM should do is go aggressively after SERIOUS cases of discrimination that affect all men, such as marriage law inequities and family court inequities, jail sentencing practices, always-arrest-the-man domestic violence rules, kid-glove treatment of false rape accusers, and similar SERIOUS violations of men’s civil rights. Ladies’ night does not even make it to the top 100 list.

      Now, if NCFM has legal standing to litigate ladies’ night for all men (who may or may not go to bars), I cannot see why, contrary to what you said, why NCFM would not have legal standing to take on marriage laws and practices for all men (married or not).

      • Sue on January 4, 2013 at 12:36 PM

        Let me see if I understand you. For over a year, a [rather sophisticated] California business charges hundreds or thousands of men more than women for the exact same types of food and beverages and you don’t think this is “SERIOUS case[] of discrimination.” Okay, whatever you say.

        Does this mean that you’d be okay with McDonald’s hosting a weekly “Caucasians’ Night” for over a year and provide only Caucasian patrons with free food and discounted beverages? Or, McD’s hosting a weekly “Men’s NIght” that provides free food and discounted beverages to male patrons but denies the same to all female patrons?

        Also, the article didn’t say NCFM is suing Four Seasons, it says NCFM president Harry Crouch (as an individual, not on behalf of NCFM) is suing Four Seasons. While NCFM may have standing to file this lawsuit, it did not.

        I agree that the other forms of discrimination against men you listed are serious and should be stopped.

    • Justmanup on January 4, 2013 at 2:06 PM

      Sue, I think a sexist happy hour is not a very serious problem when considering the big picture if how men are treated in US society.

    • Justmanup on January 4, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      (I hit return at the wrong moment and and incomplete entry was posted)
      Sue, I think a sexist happy hour is not a very serious problem when considering the big picture of how men are mistreated in the misandric society which is the US today.

      I understand that it may be demotivating when someone tries to accomplish something that is useful, but then gets chastised by me or anyone else for having picked perhaps not the most important fight. I don’t mean to slight the effort, I appreciate the effort. Please keep up the effort!

      What I am saying is that if we really want change the misandric society we have in the USA today, it is very important which struggles we pick to fight. And my personal opinion is what I have expressed above, namely that there are MANY other struggles that are much more worthy than the sexist happy hour one.

      So, I’m not trying to demotivate anyone. I am trying to to emphasize that we need to focus on the gravely serious issues of misandry. There are plenty of them.

      Feminists did not get their power by complaining about the supposedly inequitable difference in price of dry-cleaning between men’s shirts and women’s blouses. They talked about, but they didn’t spend all that much energy on it. They went for the jugular instead. We need to respond by tackling the issues that directly affect men’s personal freedom, financial freedom, personal safety, health and well-being.

      Peace out, and keep up the good work.

      • shmiggen on March 9, 2013 at 1:11 PM

        I disagree. Ladies Night is all-pervasive. It is basic discrimination throughout the land, and deliberate. I don’t see this as small potatoes at all.

  9. Charlie on January 2, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    Geez, how nice it must be to go out “with the girls” and know that you can eat and drink for free! I know the bars do this so more men will show up but it is an antiquated, biased program used by bars. By its merits it assumes men are inferior to women. Men are once again encouraged to be seen as “paychecks” by women. This illegal practice must be stopped!

  10. Marcellinha on January 2, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    What the heck was the Four Seasons’ thinking when it decided to charge its customers different prices for the exact same types of food or drinks based solely on their customers’ sex? “Unbelievable” is right. I wonder who the brainiac is who came up with this promotion.

  11. Sue on January 2, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    How surprising that a supposedly sophisticated business such as a Four Seasons Hotel would be so stupid to give only its female patrons free food and discounted drinks. I doubt this Four Seasons would ever consider charging female guests less than male guests for the same type of hotel room, but it didn’t hesitate – every week for over a year – to charge women less then men for food and beverages in its lounge. Unbelievable!

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