Man claims he was fired to make room for ‘hot chicks'

A bartender has filed a gender discrimination lawsuit claiming he lost his job after his employer implemented a ‘hot chick' strategy to bring in customers.

Tony E. Clark filed the suit in U.S. District Court on Tuesday against Varasano's Pizzeria, 2171 Peachtree Rd.

Clark said he was hired as a bartender at Varasano's in March 2009 when the eatery first opened. He said in August 2010, owner Jeffrey Varasano hired a consultant to develop a strategy for attracting more customers into the restaurant.

According to the suit, the consultant Brett Holtzclaw, told Clark that the restaurant was going to go in a new direction and was going to hire “hot chicks” to attract customers into the restaurant.

Clark said he discovered his fate when his name wasn't on the work schedule. He said he was never officially told why he was let go. "It's strange how I can be there for a year and a half from the time they opened and build a clientele and all of a sudden no one wants to say ‘we're going in another direction,' said Clark.

Shortly after implementing the new strategy, Varasano’s began to drastically reduce Clark's work hours, he said. Clark said he was terminated in September 2010 without reason, according to the suit.

Owner Varasano disputed Clark's claims. "We at Varasano's value our wonderful team, which includes members of all genders, races and sexual orientations, he said in an email to the AJC.

Varasano also sent the AJC a copy of an inquiry that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission made regarding the case. The EEOC had dismissed the case in September. "Based upon its investigation, the EEOC is unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violations of the statutes," the dismissal states.