Friday, January 25, 2008
Judge Allows Man to Sue A’s Over Women-Only Cap Promotion
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A lawsuit charging the Oakland Athletics baseball club and Macy’s Department Stores, Inc. with sex discrimination for conducting a women-only cap giveaway may proceed, an Alameda Superior Court judge has ruled.
In a Jan. 16 order, Judge Robert Freedman said Alfred Rava raised triable issues as to whether the May 8, 2004 promotion at McAfee Coliseum—in which the first 7,500 adult women to enter the stadium received caps with the Macy’s logo on one side and the ball club’s logo on the other—violated the Unruh Civil Rights Act or the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance.
“At bottom, when the decision was made to give away a product to some, but not all, of the attendees of the May 8, 2004 game, a line clearly drawn by statute was crossed,” the judge wrote.
Freedman rejected the argument that the promotion, which took place on Mother’s Day, was a legitimate means of recognizing the contributions of mothers and the fight against breast cancer, which was the subject of a fundraiser at the stadium the same day.
“Notwithstanding Defendants’ characterization of the Mother’s Day hats as ceremonial gifts, their choice to give such gifts only to women was, by its very nature, discriminatory, and Defendants’ arguments regarding the practical considerations that led to its decision to use adult females as a ‘reasonable proxy for mothers’ do not affect this analysis.”
The judge cited Koire v. Metro Car Wash (1985) 40 Cal.3d 24, which held that “Ladies’ Day” discounts violate the Unruh Act.
Marc Angelucci, a local attorney who is president of the National Coalition of Free Men, which supported Rava, noted yesterday that Freeman’s ruling “is the exact opposite of that issued by Orange County Superior Court Judge Jonathan H. Cannon in Dr. Michael Cohn v. Corinthian Colleges, in which child psychologist Michael Cohn sued the Anaheim Angels for denying him a Mother’s Day tote bag because he is a male.”
Angelucci added that his organization “supports Judge Freeman’s refusal to be a judicial activist.” While the group “focuses on much worse areas of systemic sex discrimination against men, such as in family courts, criminal courts and domestic violence policies, NCFM-LA believes the smaller forms (female-only discounts or gifts) can feed into the larger ones and that they still violate the Unruh Act.”
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