Tony’s Pizza accused of sexist hiring practice

Facebook was atwitter Tuesday after the owner of Tony's Pizza posted on the group's page that the restaurant prefers to hire male pizza chefs.

Facebook was atwitter Tuesday after the owner of Tony’s Pizza posted on the group’s page that the restaurant prefers to hire male pizza chefs.

“I would prefer to have a male in the kitchen, less distraction for the other male employees,” wrote Kathleen Lundgaard, who owns the joint with her husband Bo.

The post was in response to a woman who said she applied for a job but never heard anything back.

Commenters have accused the company of discrimination both on the Tony’s Pizza page and on their own pages.

The original post and many of the critical comments have been deleted, although screen shots have been shared widely.

Lundgaard spoke with the News Tuesday afternoon and said she regretted posting what she did.

“I apologize if it offended anyone. I didn’t think of it that way. It was just my preference, to prefer to have guys work with guys. It’s more of a camaraderie in the kitchen when it’s all guys.”

She said she has hired women to work in the kitchen before, but it hasn’t worked out.

“I’ve hired three females before, to work in the kitchen,” said Lundgaard.

“One of them didn’t even show up for her first shift, the second one showed up for one shift and she said it was too much work for her, and the third one, she worked for two days and the third day she was calling in hungover.”

Adjusting to the kitchen work can be challenging, she said.

“I could tell right away that there was going to be problems in the future. And I didn’t want to get hit with a sexual harassment thing after that.”

“It’s just been the norm that women don’t apply very often for kitchen work, and then whenever I did give them a chance, it’s bit me in the ass, pretty much.

“I just feel that our reputation should not be tarnished by an off-the-cuff comment that was never intended to hurt anybody.”

Amy-Rose Kemble, one of the Facebook commenters, said she found the post to be discriminatory to women but also degrading to men.

“All the men I know can work in any setting involving women or men and they’re not just out of control of themselves because there are women present.”

Kemble worries that female employees might not be treated with respect if they are seen primarily as a distraction to the men, she said.

“That makes me nervous for them, if that’s what they think of women or girls or the female form.”

Kemble said she recently took a course about human rights, and hopes this incident will help both employers and employees learn about their rights and responsibilities.

Blake Lepine posted a screen shot to his Facebook page that shows a letter he sent to the Yukon Human Rights Commission complaining about the incident.

He also told the News he is concerned for the restaurant’s female employees.

Lepine said he hopes his efforts will get a conversation started and encourage others to speak up.

“I’m hoping it’ll put it out there for people to know, there are people out there who are advocating for these rights.”

Heather MacFadgen, executive director of the Yukon Human Rights Commission, said she could not comment on this case specifically.

But generally, any unfavourable treatment in hiring based on sex is discrimination under Yukon’s Human Rights Act, she said.

The exception would be if hiring someone of a particular sex was a bona fide job requirement, said MacFadgen.

That could mean something like hiring a man to do cleaning or maintenance on a public men’s washroom if the washroom could not be closed during the work.

Under Yukon’s law, the commission can only investigate claims brought forward by someone who says they have personally been discriminated against, she said.

That’s not true in some other parts of Canada, where anyone can bring forward a complaint, or a commission can investigate of its own accord.

“But we don’t have those powers here,” said MacFadgen. “We’ve asked for them in law reform but that’s never happened.”

When a complaint is launched, the commission tries to resolve the issue between the parties, she said.

Failing that, the commission will investigate and produce a report, at which point the case will be dismissed, settled, or referred to an independent board of adjudication for a hearing.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

The Yukon government responded to a petition calling the SCAN Act “draconian” on Feb. 19. (Yukon News file)
Yukon government accuses SCAN petitioner of mischaracterizing her eviction

A response to the Jan. 7 petition was filed to court on Feb. 19

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Whitehorse RCMP will provide internet safety training due to an uptick of child luring offences. (iStock photo)
RCMP hosting internet safety webinars for parents and caregivers

The webinars will take place on March 23 and 25

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Bureau of Statistics reports rising rents for Yukoners, falling revenues for businesses

The bureau has published several reports on the rental market and businesses affected by COVID-19

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

Most Read