A famed restaurant in Peru was recently fined $62,000 for discriminating against women by giving ladies who dined with men menus that didn’t feature any prices.
La Rosa Nautica, a pricey restaurant built on a peer overlooking the ocean in the Peruvian capital, Lima, was ordered to pay a 210,000 sol ($62,000) fine for offering women a different menu when they dined with men. While gentlemen were given a blue menu that featured both the dishes available and their prices, ladies got a gold version that mentioned no prices at all.
The owner of the high-end restaurant defended the practice by calling it a way for women to enjoy a romantic night out without having to worry about costs, but Peruvian authorities ruled that it was discriminatory against women.
In their defense, La Rosa Nautica owners said that price-free menus “extoll the position of women, considering it a pleasure for them to enjoy a romantic evening with their partner, without taking into account the cost of the services,” but the National Institute for the Defense of Free Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property disagreed. In a 3-2 ruling last week it declared that all women should have access to the same menus as men.
“These small things may seem harmless,” Liliana Cerrón, an official with the institute, said. “But at the end of the day they are the basis of a chauvinistic construct reinforcing differences between men and women.”
In addition to the $62,000 fine, La Rosa Nautica – a restaurant popular both with tourists and Peru’s upper class – will have to start offering the same menus to everyone, train its staff and post a sign clearly stating that discrimination will not be tolerated.
Interestingly, La Rosa Nautica is not the first restaurant to offer women price-free menus. Famed Los Angeles restaurant L’Orangerie used to do the same thing, giving women white menus without prices, and men green ones with prices. But they were sued for the practice in the 1980’s and agreed to drop it, which makes the use of such a practice in a time when sexism and discrimination in general is so frowned upon that much stranger.