After losing an employee, a halal gyro shop hung a “help wanted” sign on the restaurant door. However, as soon as customers saw what it said, a civil rights complaint was filed, and the shop owner was forced to pay a $1,000 fine.
When manager Amir Ahmad was given a 24-hour notice that an employee was quitting, he scrambled to find someone to replace him. Realizing that the quickest way to find a new worker was to advertise the job opening, he quickly scribbled a “help wanted” sign and posted it outside the NY Gyro King on a Saturday evening. Within hours, the shop was flooded with phone calls. However, they weren’t from eager applicants.
In the era of political correctness and social justice, nearly anything can be categorized as sexist, racist, or discriminatory. Although many of these accusations stem from a false outrage, there are other offenses that are straddling the fence between suspicious and egregious.
When Ahmad returned to work on Monday morning, he was told that hundreds of calls and complaints came in over his “sexist” and “discriminatory” sign, NJ.com reports. Ahmad came under fire for writing “males only” under the shop’s phone number, suggesting that women need not apply because their applications wouldn’t be considered due to their gender.
“I wrote it on Saturday night, I never meant it the wrong way,” he said. “When I came back on Monday, my co-worker said people are calling” and complaining, he said. “We love all of our customers equally, doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman.”
Still, Ahmad’s excuse wasn’t enough. He and his brother, who owns the shop, were hit with a civil rights complaint, which could easily land the pair in a costly legal battle that would not only ruin them financially but destroy their business reputation. As such, the pair agreed to pay a $1,000 fine and undergo a course on the state’s discrimination laws, according to Newsweek.
“We have nothing against ladies,” manager Amir Ahmad told the North Jersey Record in a statement at the time. “We’re not sexist or anything like that. I was in a rush to find somebody fast. We didn’t mean nothing in a bad way. To be honest I didn’t really think about it.”
The Division of Civil Rights (DCR) confirmed that the Bloomfield restaurant agreed to adopt a written anti-discrimination policy, which will also inform individuals about how to file a complaint. The restaurant is also responsible for educating its managers and employees on discrimination laws.
Although he claims he isn’t sexist, Ahmad has doubled down on his decision to exclude women from the workforce. He believes that a woman simply couldn’t handle the workload, despite admitting that he and his Muslim male employees are noticeably weaker during their fasting over the month of Ramadan.
“I don’t believe in stuff like that. The job requirement is really heavy duty and most of the time I get females who say ‘I want to work on the cash register.’ It came out the wrong way.”
Ahmad claimed he shouldn’t be called “sexist,” adding, “I have a mother, I have a sister, I have a wife, I also have a 2-year-old daughter.” He admitted that he wouldn’t want anyone to exclude his female family members simply based on their gender.
“I would like to say I’m sorry to the community,” Amir Ahmad said. “I never meant it that way … I respect everyone equally, I don’t do that racism or sexist thing. It was a mistake.”
Although Ahmad’s case was considered illegal, the DCR doesn’t seem to think that every exclusionary rule based on gender breaks the law. In fact, they ruled that the company Skyzir Distributions could legally specify “female candidate preferable” in their hiring ad.
While Ahmad’s sign is clearly sexist based on his assumption that no woman could do the job of his former male employee, it showcases hypocrisy in the state’s discrimination laws. Ahmad isn’t allowed to exclude women from the hiring process but other businesses can “prefer” females.
There is a good case to be made that private businesses should be allowed to discriminate however they please because the free market is good at sorting these things out. If you don’t like how a business operates, taking your money elsewhere is the most effective way to remedy the situation.