PASCO, Wash. -- A Columbia Basin College student says she was shocked after seeing a help wanted sign at a Pasco gas station. "It's unbelievable to me that someone would think that way this day and age," says Racheal Calaway.
The controversial sign at the Sunmart and Exxon gas station off Argent Road in Pasco says they're looking for some one to work the graveyard -- overnight shift. Right underneath it says, "21 year old MALE Required."
"They're saying either we're not smart enough to take care of ourselves, we're not strong enough to take care of ourselves or we need a man to take care of our selves," says Calaway who feels discriminated against.
The operations manager of Sun Pacific Energy, Jarrod Franson, and all the 36 Sunmarts in the area says they're just trying to protect their employees. He says about 60% of all their clerks are female, just not on the overnight shift.
"We're not discriminating in any way or form. We only do this as a policy to protect our employees, and we found that single shift female employees are more likely to have complications or problems," says Franson.
Franson says a female clerk at the Burbank Sunmart was beaten and mugged several years ago and since then, they haven't allowed women to work by themselves during the night.
NBC Right now asked employment lawyer, Brian Davis if that was a good enough reason to exclude women in the help wanted add.
Davis says there is an exception to cases being classified as discrimination under the WPI 330.04 Employment Discrimination-Refusal to Hire-Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ) Defense.
"Excluding members of that protected class is essential for the purpose of the job. all the people in that protected class can not efficiently perform the duty of the job or that the essences of the operation would be undermined by hiring an individual in that protected class," says Davis.
Franson says they do hire women to work overnights, but only in pairs. H e also says the sign was poorly written and the store took it down.