No Steves at Adam & Eve

Man sues NC adult sex toy store company for discrimination

By Josh Shaffer / The News & Observer

RALEIGH, N.C. — Adam & Eve, the adult sex toy retail giant, is facing a federal lawsuit in North Carolina after a job applicant said he was denied a sales job at the Raleigh and Clayton stores because he is a man.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the suit in U.S. District Court Thursday on behalf of Christopher Kilby, alleging discrimination against male job-seekers at North and South Carolina stores. It names Sactacular Holdings, Adam & Eve’s limited liability company in Raleigh, as the defendant.

The suit said Kilby applied for a sales associate position at the Capital Boulevard store in August 2017, and after submitting his resume, a female employee told him Adam & Eve does not hire men for the sales floor — only for receiving and unpacking.

The job required a high school diploma, retail experience and a flexible schedule, all of which Kilby had, the suit said.

In October 2017, Kilby tried again in Clayton. There, the suit said, he got the same response from two female employees.

After three months, the Capital Boulevard store hired four women. Within two months, the Clayton store did the same. None of 32 men who applied during that time were hired, the suit said.

“The unlawful employment practices complained of were done with malice or with reckless indifference to the federally protected rights of Kilby and other similarly situated male applicants,” the suit said.

Kilby’s lawsuit is not the first on behalf of men claiming they were nudged out of positions reserved for women.

In 1997, the Hooters restaurant chain settled a class-action sex-discrimination lawsuit by paying $3.75 million and agreeing to open three gender-neutral jobs, according to the Chicago Tribune.

A call seeking comment from Sactacular Holdings did not get a response Friday. Kilby could not be reached.

Lawyers for the EEOC ask that Sactacular Holdings compensate Kilby and other male applicants for their past and future losses, provide appropriate backpay with interest, pay punitive damages and stop unlawfully hiring on the basis of sex.

PHE Inc. is the parent company of Adam & Eve and is based in Hillsborough. It is a past Business of the Year honoree of the Hillsborough-Orange County Chamber of Commerce.

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