Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the National Coalition for Men had threatened to sue the City and County of San Diego. The National Coalition for Men only criticized the event in a letter to San Diego City and County officials.
A men’s rights organization has criticized the City and County of San Diego for participating in an upcoming job fair event for female military members.
The National Coalition For Men (NCFM) sent a letter on Tuesday asking organizers to postpone the “San Diego Military Women Careers Event.” The event is planned for Friday, September 14 on Naval Base San Diego.
Military Inclusion, the group that organized the career fair, is promoting the event for “women veterans, active duty women and spouses.”
But in its letter to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and other officials, the NCFM argues that the “women-only job fair” violates the civil rights of male service members and male spouses of women in the military.
“I think it’s disgusting that they have an event strictly for women,” NCFM President Harry Crouch told NBC 7 Investigates. “Why do we have to target less than ten percent of the military population? It makes no sense to me.”
Crouch, an Air National Guard veteran, said he was offended when he read about the career event. In his letter to the city and county, Crouch said the event is “immoral and illegal”.
The event organizer, Oran Brown, defended the job and education fair. “We want to shine the light on women veterans who have served our country, and we all should be galvanized and rally around this opportunity,” Brown said.
Brown noted that men, and civilians, are welcome to attend the career event, but said his goal is to “shine a light” on female vets, who he says are more likely to be unemployed or underemployed.
Mayor Faulconer agreed. “This is a terrific event that shouldn’t be delayed by a misguided organization (NCFM) that would better serve San Diego by finding ways to support veteran career fairs instead of trying to derail them,” Faulconer told NBC 7 Investigates.
NCFM, which is based in San Diego, has accused the city of violating men’s and boy’s civil rights before.
In February, city officials postponed a “Girls Empowerment Camp” after Al Rava, an attorney for the men’s rights group, criticized the city for excluding boys from the camp. The city later agreed to open up registration to include boys. The camp program, sponsored by the San Diego Fire Department, was held in April.
Rava told NBC 7 Investigates that he has been involved in about 300 Unruh Civil Rights Act sex discrimination cases, representing both men and women.
California's Unruh Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on sex, race, and sexual orientation.
When asked what the harm was in holding a career event for women in the military, Rava replied, “What is the harm? You gotta be kidding...do you think there would be no harm in the City, the County, the federal government...holding a ‘Military Men, No-Women-Allowed’ Career Event? Or a ‘Military Whites, No-Blacks-Allowed’ Career Event?”
NBC 7 Investigates found several lawsuits that members of the men’s rights group filed against local restaurants, bars, and a female DJ.
The lawsuits targeted businesses that hosted or promoted events specifically for women. One of the lawsuits filed was against The Red Door Restaurant for hosting an event by “Ladies Get Paid”, a New York-based group that fights for equal pay and treatment of women in the workplace. That lawsuit was settled in April for an undisclosed amount.
But Claire Wasserman, the founder of “Ladies Get Paid” defended that event.
“We're fighting for equality,” she told NBC 7 Investigates. “The majority of people who hold power, those are men. Those are white men. What we're trying to do is equalize the balance, right? We want to see men and women getting paid equally. We want to see diversity in leadership.”
As for Friday’s military career day, dozens of public agencies, colleges, and private employers, are listed on the promotional flyers. Those agencies include the San Diego Police Department, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, DEA, and the United States Customs and Border Protection.
A spokesperson for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department told NBC 7 Investigates, “We take our role as an equal opportunity employer seriously. We regularly work to recruit quality candidates at military events, a wide variety of schools and universities and community events.”
Oran Brown, the event organizer, does not plan to postpone the job fair or change the title or any of its promotional materials.
“I think that the complaint is baseless,” Brown told NBC 7 Investigates. “Anyone looking for a job would never be turned away from our [Military Inclusion] events.”