Bil Browning

Avis: Reverse Sexual Orientation Discrimination?

Filed By Bil Browning | January 13, 2012 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Avis Rent A Car, International Gay and Lesbian's Travel Association, Lynn Evenchik, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, reverse discrimination

An Arizona woman is taking Avis Rent A Car to court claiming that the company discriminated against her by not offering her the same discount they offer to a handful of LGBT AvisCarHireBig.jpegorganizations.

Lynn Evenchik claims that Avis' practice of offering discounts to members of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce constitutes a violation of California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits businesses from offering discounts to customers based on sexual orientation.

Evenchik paid $311.36 to rent a car from Avis at San Diego International Airport for a period of one week in July of 2011. She later learned that members of the aforementioned groups received discount codes entitling them to 20 to 25 percent off standard rental rates due to marketing agreements Avis had entered into with the organizations.

This is a prickly pear for me. Part of me thinks that she's got a point; people shouldn't get a discount based solely on their sexual orientation. If Avis offered a discount to straight people over LGBT people, I'd be the first one to start shouting from the rooftops.

That said, I also believe that giving organizations discounts is a smart marketing strategy and the above named groups aren't the only ones getting discounts. The group gives discounts and special deals to Best Buy Rewards Zone members, Golf Holidays International attendees, and people who fly on British Airways.

Throw in the fact that you don't have to be gay or transgender to join either IGLTA or NGLCC and it seems like a moot point. The company doesn't seem to be targeting people's orientation so much as their membership in a specific club or group.

What're your thoughts? Is this reverse discrimination? Or is just a hullabaloo over nothing?

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