The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against a popular chain of restaurants claiming that they participated in age discrimination. Texas Roadhouse is a national chain of restaurants based out of Kentucky that is subject to the lawsuit. The EEOC alleges that Texas Roadhouse demonstrated a nationwide pattern of age discrimination in hiring hourly, “front of the house” employees. According to the lawsuit, the restaurant discriminated against a class of applicants aged 40 years or older by failing to hire them for server, host, bartender, or other publicly visible positions within the restaurant. If you believe that you have been the victim of age discrimination, contact one of our Tennessee employment lawyers.
The EEOC has focused much of its recent efforts on combating age discrimination. There has been an increasing number of discrimination charges filed with the EEOC over the years. This lawsuit is another means of the EEOC increasing awareness regarding the illegality of age discrimination. The EEOC maintains that not only is age discrimination illegal, but it can also have a devastating effect on those older workers and their families. In addition, the EEOC emphasizes just how hard it can be for applicants to recognize that they have been discriminated against because of their age. That inability to recognize discrimination is considered the main reason as to why the EEOC acts so aggressively to remedy such a violation.
There were a number of allegations made by the EEOC in support of its suit against Texas Roadhouse. In the suit, the EEOC alleges that the restaurant hired significantly few “front of the house” employees who were aged 40 or older. The restaurant allegedly emphasized a younger demographic when training managers in regard to hiring employees. In addition, many of the images comprising the training and employment manuals are made of younger people. Also, the suit alleges that Texas Roadhouse instructed its hiring managers to hire younger job applicants.
The EEOC also focused on several of the comments from Texas Roadhouse’s hiring managers highlighting potential age discrimination. Hiring managers allegedly told unsuccessful older job applicants that “there are younger people here who can grow with the company” as a reasoning why they were not hired. Other alleged comments toward older applicants from hiring managers included “You seem older to be applying for this job,” and “Do you think you would fit in?” The restaurants’ managers allegedly described the restaurant as having “a younger set environment” to potential job applicants. The EEOC also focused on comments from Texas Roadhouse managers including “We are looking for people on the younger side…but you have a lot of experience,” and “How do you feel about working with younger people?”
The EEOC’s lawsuit alleges that Texas Roadhouse has violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act with its actions. The agency is seeking monetary relief for those applicants who were denied a job because of their age, stronger policies and procedures by the restaurant to prevent age discriminations, as well as training on discrimination for any of the restaurant’s managers or other employees.
If you have been denied a position and have heard many of the same questions or comments from hiring officials, you may have been a victim of age discrimination. We encourage you to contact a Tennessee employment attorney. At The Higgins Firm, our employment lawyers would be happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding discrimination in the workplace.