Be careful what you type. Italian restaurant Sistina on the Upper East Side has been slapped with a $5,000 penalty by New York’s Commission on Civil Rights for its choice of words. The Commission has penalized the restaurant for posting a gender-specific job advertisement for a “hostess” over the summer.

A staff member at the restaurant told the New York Post that she wasn’t even thinking about gender when she typed out the following Craiglist ad: “Hostess/coat check needed. Reliable, personable, organized.” The Commission sent two test responses to the ad, one resume from a woman and one resume from a man. It claims that only the email from the woman was opened.

A sampling of Craigslist job ads, with one compliant post and one gender-specific post.

A sampling of Craigslist job ads, with one compliant post and one gender-specific post.

Sistina’s owner acknowledged to the Post that the ad could be faulted, but said the error was unintentional and the Commission should have notified them before issuing a fine. “We are human. It’s possible we made a mistake, but we got no warning.”

A spokesperson for the Commission countered that it gives thousands of presentations each year to educate the public on discrimination laws, but its job is to enforce the law, not to warn people that they are breaking it.

Sexism is obviously something to be discouraged, but it seems like a tough break for the restaurant since many of us would agree that its an easy mistake to make. On the other hand, it’s worth considering just how easy. Whether we realize it or not, many of us have an ingrained assumption that the host at a restaurant will be female, and the vast majority of the time they are. The gendered job ad is what got the restaurant in trouble, but the greater issue is really the gendered job.

[via the Daily Meal]