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Matchmaker’s Discriminatory Hiring Practices No Match for EEOC

Although Forbes has ranked New York City as the 8th best city for singles, it’s no secret that the use of online dating services is rapidly growing. In fact, according to, the online dating industry is worth approximately 4 billion USD.

Recently, a giant in the dating industry, It’s Just Lunch (IJL), was sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for discriminating against qualified male job applicants based on gender.

The EEOC alleges that from 2007 through July 2013, IJL did not hire any male inside sales representatives or dating directors despite an abundance of qualified male candidates that applied for these positions. When Human Resources Director Lynda Twist complained to IJL senior management regarding this discriminatory practice in 2009, she was fired in retaliation only two days later. Twist claims that senior management told her that they only hired women for the aforementioned positions because clients favored interacting with women instead of men. To settle the lawsuit, IJL will pay a total of $90,000.00 in back pay and damages that will go to Twist and a class of qualified male IJL job applicants from 2007 through July 2013 for their discriminatory actions.

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against, segregate, or refuse to hire any person because of gender.  Undoubtedly, IJL acted in violation of Title VII when the company refused to hire qualified men simply because they were men.

It’s not uncommon for dating service professionals, or other employers offering services of a more romantic, personal or intimate nature, to believe that hiring employees of only a single gender – whether it be males or females – will appeal to their prospective clientele.  However, these practices are unquestionably discriminatory under the law, a fact that is often cold comfort for those employers who, like IJL, believe they will suffer a business loss as a result.

If you believe that you have been denied employment, harassed, or terminated because of your gender, contact an attorney who can help you assert your fundamental legal rights. 

Christopher Davis is an experienced employment litigator specializing in class actions, overtime wage recovery, discrimination, whistleblower retaliation, and Wall Street bonus disputes. Before entering private practice, Mr. Davis served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office where he prosecuted violent crimes as a member of the Sex Crimes Unit.

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