The ruling was made in the Prince George's County Circuit Court in Maryland. The suit charged that, after the plaintiff and his lady friend both had his-and-her's manicures at a Landover, Maryland salon, he was suddenly presented with a bill charging him two dollars more than her for the manicure "because you're a man.'
Most state and local laws prohibit discrimination based upon sex, and that has generally been held to apply where one gender is charged more than another. "It was on that basis that my law students and I were able to bring legal actions to prohibit dry cleaners from charging women more than men to launder shirts, and hair cutters from charging women more than men for the same basic simple hair cut," says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.
Similarly, in the District of Columbia where Banzhaf was successful, and well as in many other jurisdictions, it has been held to constitute illegal sex discrimination for bars and nightclubs to charge men more than women for drinks and/or admission.
Gender-based pricing is still illegal, even if there is some business justification. For example, says Banzhaf, dry cleaners could not charge women more to launder their shirts even if its cost far more to perform the service, and hair cutters could not charge women more because they were allegedly fussier about their hair.
Similarly, ladies nights have been held illegal even though many man favor them because it brings available women into the bar, and many women favor them because they can enjoy a night out for less. "The desires of horny men and cheap women doesn't make sex discrimination legal," says Banzhaf.
JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
Creator, Banzhaf Index of Voting Power
2000 H Street, NW, Suite S402
Washington, DC 20052, USA
(202) 994-7229 // (703) 527-8418
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John F. Banzhaf III is a Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University Law School [http://banzhaf.net/]