Sexism and Homophobia “Alive and Well” at Downtown’s Weiland’s?

A user of Downtown’s LA Life‘s Yahoo! Group recently shared an experience at Little Tokyo’s Weiland’s Brewery in which they claimed “Sexism is alive and well and working at Weilands Brewery:”

It’s not often that I will get on my soapbox and vent my anger and frustration to the world. I’m not a blogger or a rabble rouser and quite to the contrary, I prefer to read these types of stories rather than author them. But this incident, in my opinion, is one that I cannot keep quiet.

Recently, a very dear friend of mine walked into Weilands Brewery in Little Tokyo to apply for a job. He was looking for a bartender role or waitperson role- either one as he needed some work.

After dropping off his resume and talking with the manager, he was told that “…everyone here knows his place. The men work behind the bar and the women serve the food.” Since there weren’t any bartending positions available, and even though there were waitstaff positions available, he was told that he couldn’t be hired “because he was a man.” The manager went on to say “….this is a very macho environment and men don’t serve the food”. Umm, when did Little Tokyo become a “macho environment” and when did Weilands become a testosterone headquarters where customers are so uncomfortable with a man serving food, that they have to set up hiring rules preventing this from happening?…

More to the story and another experience after the jump.

The majority of the customers are locals who go to Weilands for a drink and happy hour food. I’ve been there. Nothing special. I’m sure the customers wouldn’t protest if a nice, friendly guy set a plate of hotwings down on the table and brought them beer while they watched the game. I really thought we as a race had evolved further than this in 2008, but I guess I am just naive.

As a former Human Resources Manager with major international companies, I was taught that anyone, regardless of race, sex, religion and sexual orientation should be allowed the same rights when applying for a job – as long as they are qualified and able to do the job. Making a living in a restaurant shouldn’t be determined by your sex.

Another user responded with an account of somewhat more egregious behavior:

I experienced some rather blantant and offensive homophobic comments and behavior while dining at Weiland almost two years ago to the day (I remember that it was the day of the Detour festival). It involved a bouncer and I felt unsafe and immediately left. A letter I wrote went nowhere, and calls from the manager were unanswered. What happened to me was illegal and I could have pursued legal action. It is the only time I have ever experienced any inappropriate/homophobic comments or behavior from an establishment whatsoever in 5 years since living downtown.

So, has anybody else experienced what they would consider inappropriate or even illegal behavior on the part of Weiland’s employees or are these isolated incidents? Is Weiland’s a bastion of intolerance in the heart of the city or is this just a couple of employees making some bad decisions that don’t reflect the real Weiland’s?

6 Replies to “Sexism and Homophobia “Alive and Well” at Downtown’s Weiland’s?”

  1. There’s no excuse other than stupidity for such crass treatment of a job applicant. The manager should have just thanked the guy for the application and told him he’d be in touch.

    PS. This jobseeker should scratch Hooters off his list, too.

  2. I’ve been there many times when the food was served by men, and the service has always been decent. Unless they changed some policy recently I wouldn’t consider this a macho place.

  3. I’ve always received professional service there. One of my girlfriend’s favorite place to meet after work, since she knows I like to keep an eye on the sport of the day playing on the screens above…

  4. Can’t speak to this place, but just thought I’d share this story: when I was unemployed and desperate for a job, I put in to be a clerk at a baby and maternity boutique in Venice (I have a M.A., so I thought this was a bit beneath my qualifications, but I needed something). I have a 16-month old, and I had been a stay at home dad for a year, so I felt like I knew my baby stuff, and could make recommendations for maternity products my wife liked.

    I got a call back after submitting a letter and resume through email, and the manager of the store asked to speak to Evan. I said that was me, and then she kind of stammered for a bit, then said she didn’t know I was a man, and that it was mostly only women shopping in the store, and she didn’t think I would be a good fit because she thought a man working there would make the customers uncomfortable. I was so dumbfounded, I didn’t know what to say and just hung up.

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