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Is it legal to not hire someone for a job in the kitchen just because they are a woman?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

First of all I would like to start by saying that I myself am Japanese and am in no way trying to attack my own race. However, I can not find a job in a Japanese restaurant that will hire a woman back of house. I would like to express that this has nothing to do with my level of experience or anything like that. If only it were so simple... These restaurants that have rejected me have already decided not to hire women prior to receiving any resumes or applications from women. I'm not entirely sure if this is just a chain of bad luck, but I get the feeling that it is not. I have found job listings in my area that specifically state they only wish to hire males. I already know that women are not often permitted to be a sushi chef. I feel that this is morally wrong, and simply wish to know if it is legally wrong. I don't wish to work for someone who looks down on my gender, but I feel that I should at least be given the opportunity to. I feel like women have come a long way and I don't wish to back down so easily. 

post #2 of 16

Well, the short answer is yes, it is illegal to deny someone a job based on sex. There are stipulations to that, mostly having to due with qualifications for a job (bad example, but you wouldn't be expected to hire a male stripper at a strip club that feature female strippers, or Victoria's Secret, etc) but the employer would have to show/prove that the sex-based hiring practices are qualifications of the job.

 

But, generally, not hiring someone based solely on their sex is considered discrimination and is illegal. You might have a hard time proving in court that this is the case, and unless someone comes out and flat out tells you that they aren't hiring you for a job is because you are a woman, it might be hard to prove legally.

 

This is all of course if you are in the US, if you aren't then I don't know. 

post #3 of 16

True.....but theres the fact that she's seen job listing for BOH cookers specifically stipulating males.

Got me wondering now if thats legal, as its certainly a tangible, written evidence of discrimination.

Further, I wonder if the publication itself might carry a certain responsibility not to run ads sporting

illegal discrimination as well.

 

Not sure how much or where this goes on.....here in california, (where Ive eaten MUCH sushi o'er the years)

Ive seen ... female Sushi makers, making fresh sushi at a station, at an asian buffet, but Im not sure it's quite the

same thing. However I  dont recall ever having seen a female sushi chef behind an actual Sushi bar.

post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meezenplaz View Post

 However I  dont recall ever having seen a female sushi chef behind an actual Sushi bar.

We had one for a while at Uchi here in austin for a while, but it is definitely a rarity. (Uchi is considered by many to be the best sushi/japanese food currently available in the US)

post #5 of 16

What is your motivation for wanting to work at a place that would not accept or welcome you?   YES, I do believe in the right to work and all, but why put yourself through that kinda grief?

post #6 of 16

----Going back to the sushi point for a sec----

 

 

I thought this article was interesting but along with it, the comments at the end : (see link for comments)

http://jezebel.com/5776236/first-sushi-restaurant-with-all+female-chefs-opens-in-japan

 

"In what some consider a blasphemous move, a sushi restaurant in Tokyo has hired only female sushi chefs. Masanori Nakamura, owner of Sushi Nakamura, tells the Wall Street Journal, "My ex-colleagues say I'm a real fool for doing this, but I thought it would be fun. Sushi is an industry that has a long tradition of discriminating against women."

Traditionally sushi making is the province of men, and there are very few female sushi chefs in Japan. Critics say the women of Sushi Nakamura aren't real chefs because they study for only two months, while it usually takes 10 years or more to master traditional sushi making. Also, as the women explain in this video, the restaurant is located in Akihabara, an area of Tokyo known for massage parlors and restaurants where waitresses dress up like maids.

Click to view


Though Nishikiori talks about empowering women, he'll only hire chefs who are 18 to 25. He explains that their slogan is "fresh and kawaii," which means cute, so, "If someone wanted to work here and was 30, I'd put her in the back." The watered-down version of sushi-making taking place at the restaurant may just be a gimmick to lure businessmen and tourists, but it's a signal that changes could be coming to one of Japan's most traditional professions. Though, for female sushi chefs, there's a long road between making panda and frog shaped rolls and being accepted by the industry.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Kodomo: I don't know why this is going on but Japan leens heavily towards male chefs in the kitchen. A stereotype that should long be broken considering what a female chef is capable of producing, especially a trained/schooled/mentored one etc.

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #7 of 16
post #8 of 16
Just a whole pile of superstition of which I don't believe in. Shame on that type of thinking.

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #9 of 16

While it embarrasses me to say it - there are a lot of really screwed up male / female equality issues in Japanese society.  The least of which occur in the workplace... 

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the responses. I have always been aware that it was an issue in Japan and even in America (Yes, I am from America.) However, I feel like the opportunity should at least be given. I don't particularly want to work for someone who does not wish me in their kitchen over gender issues, yet I feel like the experience would be valuable despite the unwelcome atmosphere. I don't work to make friends anyway, I work for myself. I have put up with my fair share of discrimination throughout life and it will never be something that stops me from doing what I am meant to do.
 
The superstitions are silly and without any scientific backing I think it is just BS. I have hands colder than anyone I have met, which I feel would be ideal. Also, I don't see how hormones can effect the food, but what do I know I'm not a scientist. Even so, every person in the world has hormones (I hope), it is a natural part of the human body.
 
I think it's insane to block out an entire gender for a job that could easily be performed by anyone with the passion and ability.I don't really think that pursuing the course of legal action is the right way to go about things, but it is an absolute last resort. I will pursue other options before it gets that far. I would be shaming my gender if I simply backed down just for being unwanted. I know that it is not an easy path, but it is the right one. I have the passion and I refuse to back down for something as silly as being a girl. If every girl throughout history just gave up because of the slightest obstacle just imagine the world we would live in today. Change has to start somewhere. 
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 

Look at it this way, the grief of being told that I can't do the one thing that I want to do just because I am a girl is far outweighed by the grief of giving up and having to live with myself after that. I don't know if you can relate, but it is hard to live with yourself if you give up over something so irrational. As long as I am breathing I will still be working toward this. While it might not seem like much to some people, it is my life.

post #12 of 16

There's "illegal," and there's "illegal."  The biggest questions come down to what can you do about it, and whether or not its worth it to you.  As a general rule, anyone who takes the legal advice dispensed in a cooking forum seriously isn't thinking very clearly. 

 

There are lots of ways to get good, free legal advice from someone who actually knows the jurisdiction and the subject.  Start by calling your local bar association.

 

 

Sexism, whether in or outside of a sushi-ya is not acceptable.  If you want to cut sushi, you should cut sushi. 

 

Go sister!

BDL 


Edited by boar_d_laze - 6/7/13 at 11:06am
post #13 of 16

 

That's the stuff that hangs up on the wall at work that no one reads.

 

See also "Elaine vs Monk's coffee shop" Seinfeld S04E23/24

and "Dale Gribble vs Bazooms" King of the Hill S12E20

post #14 of 16

I'll use an example that my lady once had (she's a trained mechanic and a welder up here in Canada):

 

Unfortunately, a lot of the employers for the jobs tended to favour male applicants rather than female. One actually (and surprisingly) chuckled when she handed in her resume and said, "I'm not saying I'm not going to hire you cuz you're female - but you're not going to find a job BECAUSE you're a female. We'll find a reason. We always do." (surprisingly, she never reported him. She said she appreciated his honesty rather than force her to play the waiting game with him.)

 

After two years of trying multiple cities in Northern Ontario, she finally found a job welding at a steel mill for one of the mines around here.

 

I know that some kitchens my peers work at have the same line of thinking (males for BOH and females for FOH).

 

Just putting it out there.

post #15 of 16

Kodomo. Hi!  Nice to see someone who's Japanese AND a female.

 

I grew up in Tokyo at my parents' restaurant, came to the US when I was 20 to a college hoping to launch a career other than in the kitchen.  After a graduation, I did have different jobs. Now I am a sous at a large hotel group in the US. I started my cooking career at the age of 30.  I started off as an intern at a fine dining French restaurant run by one of the big French chefs in NYC. Then moved back to Tokyo and worked at another French fine dining.  All around me are cooks in 20s. It was hard to find a job since age matters in Japan (and in France too where I also worked.) I was an old lady "obasan" and had a little experience in cooking at that time. There were females but chefs and most of the team were male. There is only one female chef de cuisine (as far as I know) in the whole restaurant group.

 

It might sound harsh but please hear me out from your fellow Japanese girl. I understand your frustrations. I must tell you, old fashion Japanese chefs will hate your "Americanized" guts. If you really wanna pursue your career as a Japanese chef, you must put your question aside.

 

Yes it is illegal not to hire a person just cuz she is a female. But people will find another reason why not to hire you. The kitchen is still a male dominant world but I don't care. And I would never care. I am firmly determined that I will be the best when I came back to the restaurant world.  So whatever obstacles I encountered whether a gender or age issue, I tried harder and didn't give up. That's why I reached to a sous position in 6 years.

 

If you find a restaurant you really wanna work but they rejected you, go back there again and again. Japanese chefs are artisans, they have strong briefs and they are stubborn. But once you break the ice, they will be hard on you but they will love you.  If you feel more comfortable with a little American twist, go to Nobu.  I don't know where you live, but they have lots of female chefs.

 

There is a Michelin starred Japanese restaurant in Tokyo whose chef is a lady.  She started to learn cooking at the age of 30.  There is a female sushi chef is in Los Angeles (read this article: http://www.lamag.com/lafood/digestblog/2013/05/22/im-a-female-sushi-chef-get-over-it?page=all).

 

Just don't give up if this is the career you really wanted.

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crosi View Post

Kodomo. Hi!  Nice to see someone who's Japanese AND a female.

 

I grew up in Tokyo at my parents' restaurant, came to the US when I was 20 to a college hoping to launch a career other than in the kitchen.  After a graduation, I did have different jobs. Now I am a sous at a large hotel group in the US. I started my cooking career at the age of 30.  I started off as an intern at a fine dining French restaurant run by one of the big French chefs in NYC. Then moved back to Tokyo and worked at another French fine dining.  All around me are cooks in 20s. It was hard to find a job since age matters in Japan (and in France too where I also worked.) I was an old lady "obasan" and had a little experience in cooking at that time. There were females but chefs and most of the team were male. There is only one female chef de cuisine (as far as I know) in the whole restaurant group.

 

It might sound harsh but please hear me out from your fellow Japanese girl. I understand your frustrations. I must tell you, old fashion Japanese chefs will hate your "Americanized" guts. If you really wanna pursue your career as a Japanese chef, you must put your question aside.

 

Yes it is illegal not to hire a person just cuz she is a female. But people will find another reason why not to hire you. The kitchen is still a male dominant world but I don't care. And I would never care. I am firmly determined that I will be the best when I came back to the restaurant world.  So whatever obstacles I encountered whether a gender or age issue, I tried harder and didn't give up. That's why I reached to a sous position in 6 years.

 

If you find a restaurant you really wanna work but they rejected you, go back there again and again. Japanese chefs are artisans, they have strong briefs and they are stubborn. But once you break the ice, they will be hard on you but they will love you.  If you feel more comfortable with a little American twist, go to Nobu.  I don't know where you live, but they have lots of female chefs.

 

There is a Michelin starred Japanese restaurant in Tokyo whose chef is a lady.  She started to learn cooking at the age of 30.  There is a female sushi chef is in Los Angeles (read this article: http://www.lamag.com/lafood/digestblog/2013/05/22/im-a-female-sushi-chef-get-over-it?page=all).

 

Just don't give up if this is the career you really wanted.

 

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