Public Notices and Press Releases

Asbury Park Restaurant Agrees to Gender-Neutral Dress Code Following Allegations of Gender Identity Discrimination

Brando’s Citi Cucina reaches consent order with NJ Division on Civil Rights, implementing new policies and paying penalties.

Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced that the Division on Civil Rights (DCR) has resolved a complaint against Brando’s Citi Cucina, an Asbury Park restaurant accused of discriminating against a non-binary patron, violating the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD).

The complaint, which resulted in a Finding of Probable Cause by the DCR in 2023, stemmed from an incident where Brando’s allegedly refused service to a non-binary individual based on a gender-binary dress code. Despite the patron informing the staff of their non-binary identity, the restaurant insisted on adherence to rules applicable to men, specifically barring sleeveless shirts for male patrons.

In New Jersey, we refuse to tolerate discrimination against any LGBTQ+ individuals,said Attorney General Platkin. “Today’s resolution is the result of the hard work we’ve committed to doing so that no one is mistreated in New Jersey because of their gender identity or gender expression.”

New Jersey’s civil rights laws make it unlawful to discriminate based on gender identity. Those protections mean that places open to the public, including restaurants, can’t maintain gender-binary dress codes that exclude LGBTQ+ people,” said DCR Director Sundeep Iyer. “As today’s settlement signals, we will continue our work to enforce the robust protections our laws provide against discrimination based on gender identity or expression.”

As part of the consent order, Brando’s agreed to several measures, including the adoption of a gender-neutral dress code across all its New Jersey locations in Asbury Park, Monmouth Beach, Marlboro, and Old Bridge. This dress code will apply equally to all patrons, irrespective of gender identity. Additionally, Brando’s committed to:

  • Implementing a gender-neutral dress code for both customers and employees.
  • Conducting training on the LAD, LGBTQ+ discrimination prevention, and the new dress code for all owners, managers, and employees.
  • Ensuring non-discrimination based on gender identity or other protected characteristics under the LAD.
  • Avoiding practices that disproportionately impact protected classes under the LAD.
  • Prohibiting any retaliatory actions against individuals.
  • Compensating the complainant with $5,000.
  • Paying a civil penalty of $5,000 to the DCR.

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