As far as we know, no LegalPadders have tried out Compatible Partners — online dating company eHarmony’s separate but equal same-sex concession to the New Jersey Attorney General in a discrimination suit there. But we're still curious to know what a Los Angeles jury will say about the company’s service for straight couples.
San Francisco plaintiffs attorneys in the discrimination class action against eHarmony are headed for a February jury trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court. A judge there ruled against defense motions for summary judgment last week.
“You can’t build discrimination into the definition of your service and then claim that you’re not discriminating,” said San Francisco solo Jeremy Pasternak, co-lead plaintiffs attorney with Joshua Konecky of Schneider Wallace Cottrell Brayton Konecky.
Or can you? After the jump ...
The dating company had pointed to a Department of Fair Employment and Housing ruling that it doesn’t discriminate because its services are open to everyone and equal access “does not mean that the service provided must be one that every person, regardless of their protected basis wishes to consume,” according to Judge Ann Jones’ ruling.
The class of eHarmony customers is suing the Pasadena-based company for a drop-down menu that allows users to choose only "man seeking a woman" or "woman seeking a man." eHarmony argues that it would be "literally impossible" to use its special series of algorithms to match LGBT couples.
Jones notes that “eHarmony offers its patrons a compatible match — not an opposite-sex match. It is a dubious proposition that a business establishment could escape scrutiny under the (Unruh Civil Rights) Act merely by defining the scope of its service as inherently discriminatory.”
Critics have said suits like the one against eHarmony trivialize anti-discrimination law.
— Kate Moser