by Max Brantley
Outback Steakhouse will pay $19 million to settle a national sex discrimination lawsuit against corporate-owned restaurants. The bosses apparently believed in selling a little sizzle with the steaks.
According to the suit, filed in September 2006, managers allegedly made comments that disparaged women workers.
Tom Flanagan, a joint venture partner, allegedly said female managers had "let him down" and "lost focus" when they had children. He also allegedly said women managers had trouble "saying no" and that he wanted "cute girls" to work in the front as servers.
Ben Martinez, a managing partner, allegedly told another female employee she should be a teacher instead of working in the restaurant business.
The settlement includes a change in hiring and promotion practices at the company's almost 1,000 restaurants.