Articles Posted in Age Discrimination

A popular restaurant chain has been accused of age discrimination in a recent lawsuit. Texas Roadhouse is accused of discriminating against potential employees over the age of 40 for their “front of the house” positions in the restaurant. The restaurant chain allegedly focused its hiring on those individuals under the age of 40 for many of these positions. Click below to hear attorney Jim Higgins explain about age discrimination and this particular lawsuit.

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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.
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Another age discrimination case reflects on the struggles some elderly workers are facing. In this case, home health care employee, Debra Moreno, claims that her manager stated that she was a thorough and efficient worker but the company’s owner allegedly thought that Moreno sounded “old on the phone” and looked like a “bag of bones. The company’s owner, Carolyn Frutoz-De Harne, also allegedly told one of the managers that Moreno was not the type of worker she wanted representing her company.

Following, the company laying off Moreno in 2008, the manager told Moreno of the owner’s opinions. In 2010, Moreno filed an age discrimination lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Carolyn Frutoz-De Harne. The judge in this case ordered the health care company to pay Moreno $193, 236 for the lawsuit. The healthcare company made no comment to the media concerning the settlement and has closed its doors in the meantime.

In Tennessee and all across the United States, all employees deserve to go to work and be treated with respect and equal rights. Unfortunately, too many employees are the victim of discrimination at their workplace. If you or someone you work with has been discriminated against due to your gender, age, race, disability, or for any other reason, then you should speak to a Tennessee employment discrimination lawyer right away. They will hear your case and make sure you get the compensation you are entitled to by law.
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We all use the search engine Google for many things on a daily basis. Many of us across the country and even right here in Tennessee, use it to search for information, to look up news, or even to find out how popular a website or product may be. Even though we all like and use Google daily, they are still a company with employees and this case may discriminate against the age of their employees.

In this case as reported on May 27, 2010, a Google manager Brian Reid claims he was dismissed from the company for being too old. He was hired as the director of operations and engineering when he was fifty-two, and was then fired by the company two years later after being told by his supervisor that he was not “a cultural fit” for the company. His lawyer, Paul J. Killion told the California high court that company e-mails show that Google prefers younger workers.

Reid’s lawyer also told the court that a former Google recruiter testified that the term was used only in company circles to refer to older workers. Reid also said that his colleagues referred to him as an “old fuddy duddy” and an “old man”. He also said a high level manger said he was “fuzzy, sluggish, and lethargic”.

Google says that Reid was fired because his position was eliminated. Paul W. Crane Jr, the representative for Google, argued that courts should not decide the merit of lawsuits based on random discriminatory comments by employees who were not involved in the decision to fire Reid.

Chief Justice Ronald M. George, said that “a failure to explore new ideas or be imaginative could have nothing to do with age” and asked whether the fact that Reid was already in his 50s when he was hired, undermined his case. Crane the Google representative said it did.

However, an appeals court ruled that Reid had presented sufficient evidence of age discrimination to have his case heard before a jury. Google appealed and now the state high court will determine what kind of evidence courts may consider in whether a case should go before a jury. Reid’s lawsuit also included evidence that showed older workers received worse evaluations and lower bonuses than younger employees.

In this fast paced Internet world we live in, it is unfortunate to think that as we grow older we may be discriminated against or told that we are too slow or too old to work for a certain company, but cases like these happen every day, even right here in Tennessee.
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A last session ruling by the US Supreme Court has Democrat Judiciary Committee members up in arms. The ruling, they say, makes it harder for fired employees to sue on grounds of age discrimination. Claiming a violation of civil rights law, Senators Patrick Leahy, Tom Harkin and Representative George Miller have introduced legislation to overturn the ruling and ensure that age discrimination receives the same recognition as other forms of workplace discrimination.

Recalling the claims of “activist judges” and “legislating from the bench” heard in the confirmation hearing of Justice Sotomayor, Leahy termed the Supreme Court’s approach to employment law as “very very activist”. With this ruling, a “mixed motive” (meaning that age was a contributing , but not sole factor in the termination) was not a sufficient to win the case. So it seems an employer can say “we discrimnated against you because of your age but we would have fired you anyway for a legitimate reason”. It is as if the court has given employers a map of how to discrimate based on age without any repercussion.

It is important that you contact your represenative and encourage them to change the law to make any age discrimination illegal. A worker should be judged on their perfomance alone, not their age.
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A last session ruling by the US Supreme Court has Democrat Judiciary Committee members up in arms. The ruling, they say, makes it harder for fired employees to sue on grounds of age discrimination. Claiming a violation of civil rights law, Senators Patrick Leahy, Tom Harkin and Representative George Miller have introduced legislation to overturn the ruling and ensure that age discrimination receives the same recognition as other forms of workplace discrimination.

Recalling the claims of “activist judges” and “legislating from the bench” heard in the confirmation hearing of Justice Sotomayor, Leahy termed the Supreme Court’s approach to employment law as “very very activist”. With this ruling, a “mixed motive” (meaning that age was a contributing , but not sole factor in the termination) was not a sufficient burden of proof in claiming discrimination based on age in relation to other types of discrimination. Essentially the Supreme Court has ruled that age discrimination is not as injurious as discrimination of other forms.

If you suspect discrimination of any sort has played a part in your termination, please contact the Higgins Firm at 800.705.2121 or at www.thehigginsfirm.com. Our employment law section can discuss your claim.

In June of this year, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling that required workers to prove that age was the deciding factor for an adverse employment decision and not just one of many factors such as cost savings or performance. In other words, the employer could be shielded from liability from age discrimination lawsuits by claiming that “yes, we did fire Ms. Jones because she is old but that wasn’t the only reason.” Fortunately, the legislature is looking to repair this injustice.

The new bill that has been introduced would require employers to prove that they have complied with age discrimination laws. This would help insure our aging population is treated fairly. That a person is rewarded for hard work alone and treated differently as a result of age. It would help our workers in Tennessee and throughout the country.

I would hope that you would contact your congressman to say you support this bill. If you have any questions about this bill or employment law, please feel free to contact my Tennessee law offices.

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