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Restaurant fined for 'hostess' ad; owner sounds off

Help Wanted sign
Bryan Esler | Moment Open | Getty Images

The owner of an Italian bistro on New York's Upper East Side says the city's Human Rights Commission is targeting business owners who unintentionally use gender-based language in job ads, the New York Post reported Friday.

Giuseppe Bruno's restaurant, Sistina, was fined $5,000 for a Craigslist ad that read "Hostess/coat check needed. Reliable, personable, organized." The commission said the ad violated the city's civil rights law, which bans gendered language in employment ads.

"This is an outrage. … I'm not going to settle. I didn't do anything wrong," Bruno told the Post. "It's possible we made a mistake, but we got no warning."

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State Sen. Jose Peralta said many of the cases don't come out of actual complaints, but rather from college students getting paid by HRC to troll online classifieds.

Bruno's assistant, who posted the online ad, says she received two responses via e-mail from one male and one female, who were actually testers for the commission. According to the complaint, the restaurant only opened the e-mail from the female respondent.

Bruno hopes to get off with a warning, but a commission spokeswoman told the Post that warnings are not a part of its mission.

Click here to read the full report from the New York Post.