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Calleros quoted in media on Barnes & Noble snafu


June 05, 2012

Professor Charles Calleros was quoted in various news outlets and blogs regarding an incident at a Scottsdale bookseller in which a man claims that he was discriminated against when an employee forced him out of the store.

Omar Amin said store worker Todd Voris told him a female shopper had complained about him being in the children’s area of Barnes & Noble on May 4, according to a June 3 article in The Arizona Republic by reporter Peter Corbett. The employee reportedly told Amin that other bookstores had had problems with child molesters, and that men no longer could be alone in the children’s area.

Amin said he was shopping for his two grandchildren.

On June 4, Barnes & Noble issued an apology, according to a report on msnbc.com, in which Calleros also was quoted. Calleros discussed the state public accommodations law, and how it might apply to the man. Because the law prohibits vendors from engaging in sex discrimination in the privileges they extend to patrons, the bookstore may have violated that law if it excludes men, but not women, from the children’s section when unaccompanied by children.

During a June 7 segment on the radio program, “The Daily Wrap with Michael Castner” from The Wall Street Journal, Calleros said more facts were needed to determine whether Amin has legitimate case for a sex discrimination claim.

“If we were to speculate and wonder whether the Barnes & Noble employee would have acted differently had she heard a report of a woman browsing in the children’s section without children of her own there, then we might wonder if there was sex discrimination,” Calleros said. “If we assume for a moment, hypothetically, that she would not have been disturbed by a woman browsing the stacks without children, but would react only to a man in a similar situation, then we have a different treatment on the basis of sex.”

The Republic's Corbett reported that, if women without children are allowed to shop in the children's sectionm “then we arguably have gender discrimination,” Calleros said.

“The case is muddied up by the statement that another patron had complained,” Calleros said.

To read the Republic article, click here.