Ruby Tuesday, a national casual dining restaurant chain, violated federal law by refusing to hire a qualified applicant at its Boca Raton, Fla., location because of his age, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Florida.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the restaurant declined to hire a qualified applicant with over 20 years of experience in the food and beverage industry for a general manager position at its Boca Raton restaurant. In response to an inquiry by the applicant as to why Ruby Tuesday declined to hire him, the company informed him it was seeking a candidate who could “maximize longevity.” According to the lawsuit, the applicant was 59 when he applied for the job, and the individual who got the job was 17 years younger. Attorneys for the EEOC contend that the failure to hire the applicant violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
A spokesman for the EEOC said, “Age cannot be a factor in whether or not someone can earn a living. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act was put in place precisely to protect people against this type of conduct. The bustling hospitality industry needs to be reflective of all of the members of our community.”
In 2013, Ruby Tuesday paid $575,000 to resolve another age discrimination lawsuit brought by the EEOC on behalf of older restaurant workers in Western Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Bayou City Wings, a Houston-based restaurant chain, has unlawfully engaged in a pattern or practice of intentional age discrimination in its hiring of host and wait staff, according to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
EEOC’s lawsuit said that since at least 2008, Bayou City Wings has been discriminating against a class of applicants for “front of house” positions, such as food servers and hosts, by failing to hire them because of their age (40 years and older). According to EEOC’s lawsuit, Bayou City Wings’ upper management instructed other managers not to recruit and hire older job seekers and disciplined and terminated a manager who refused to comply. The agency also charged that since at least 2008 to about November 2013, the company failed to preserve employment records, including the job applications of unsuccessful applicants, in violation of federal law.
Age discrimination, as well as the failure to preserve proper job application records, violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
EEOC filed the lawsuit (Civil Action No. 4:16-cv-03245) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas (Houston Division), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. EEOC seeks, among other things, monetary relief for applicants denied employment because of their age; the adoption of policies and procedures to remedy and prevent age discrimination; and training on discrimination for all Bayou City Wings managers and human resources staff.
“Sadly, age discrimination continues to be an employment barrier for many Americans,” said Rayford O. Irvin, district director of EEOC’s Houston office. “Denying jobs to qualified applicants who are over 40 because of their age is unlawful, yet older job applicants often do not know they are victims of this unlawful discrimination.”
Five former servers at the restaurants in Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store in New York City are suing the store’s food services provider for gender and age discrimination-based termination. Earlier this year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found reasonable cause to believe that plaintiffs were unfairly terminated under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) based on their sex and age.
Fifth Dining, LLC took over food and beverage operations at Saks in October 2012. According to the lawsuit, they terminated twenty employees within the first year they ran the food services at Saks, and terminated another twenty workers soon thereafter. The lawsuit alleges that a disproportionate number of the employees fired were competent, long-service females over the age of 40 and they were all replaced with young, attractive men. New management, the complaint contends, was looking for a “new, younger face” for the Saks restaurants and the current servers were “not attractive enough” and were getting “too old.”
The workers are seeking injunctive and declaratory relief, compensatory and punitive damages, and liquidated damages pursuant to Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, New York State Law, and New York City Law.
Today is National Waiters and Waitresses Day. To commemorate, check out this blog about the top ten wage violations in the restaurant industry written by waiterpay.com founder Louis Pechman, featured on the Huffington Post.
Ruby Tuesday Restaurants will pay $575, to settle an age discrimination class action lawsuit filed by the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The EEOC alleged that Ruby Tuesday engaged in a pattern or practice of age discrimination against job applicants who were 40 years of age or older at six of the chain’s restaurants located in Pennsylvania, and in Ohio, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). The restaurant chain also failed to preserve employment records, including employment applications, as required by the ADEA and EEOC regulations, the EEOC charged in its lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court of the Western District of Pennsylvania (EEOC v. Ruby Tuesday, Inc., Civil Action No. 09-1330).
“This case demonstrates the agency’s ongoing commitment to challenge discriminatory barriers to hiring,” said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez. “Vigorous law enforcement efforts on behalf of older workers are critical to the EEOC’s mission to eradicate barriers to employment. EEOC District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. said, “The EEOC is committed to combatting unlawful age discrimination in the workplace and will hold employers responsible if they make hiring decisions based on age rather than the applicant’s ability to do the job.”
In addition to the $575,000 in monetary relief, the three-and-one-half-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit enjoins Ruby Tuesday from engaging in future age discrimination or retaliation and provides substantial non-monetary relief at the affected Ruby Tuesday locations.
Among other things, Ruby Tuesday, Inc. will implement numerical goals for hiring and recruitment of job applicants age 40 and older at the affected locations; review its job advertisements to make certain they do not violate the ADEA’s prohibitions against age discrimination; and report to the EEOC and keep records about its hiring practices and compliance with the consent decree.
Texas Roadhouse restaurants have been discriminating against applicants for “front of the house” positions such as servers, hosts, and bartenders, by failing to hire them because of their age, according to a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The Complaint alleges that Texas Roadhouse has hired significantly few “front of the house” employees of 40 or older in age, and that only 1.9% of the restaurant’s front of the house employees were over forty. Texas Roadhouse allegedly instructed its managers to hire younger job applicants and emphasized youth when training managers about hiring employees for its restaurants. All of the images of employees in its training and employment manuals are of young people.
The EEOC complaint alleges that Texas Roadhouse’s hiring officials have made the following discriminatory remarks to older unsuccessful applicants across the nation:
- “There are younger people here who can grow with the company.”
- “You seem older to be applying for this job.”
- “We think you are a little too old to work here… we like younger people.”
- “Our age group is in their young 20s, college students.”
- “We are looking for people on the younger side… but you have a lot of experience.”
- “How do you feel about working with younger people?”
- “We really go with a younger crowd and have a younger establishment.”
Age discrimination violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (as well as the state and local laws prohibiting age discrimination). The EEOC seeks monetary relief for all applicants denied employment because of their age, the adoption of strong policies and procedures to remedy and prevent age discrimination by Texas Roadhouse restaurants, and training on discrimination for its managers and employees.
Waiter David Kallman claims that CUT restaurant, owned by Wolfgang Puck, discriminated against him and targeted him for termination because of his age. Kallman, who is 52 years old, charges in the lawsuit he filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, that he was called “pops” and “old man,” and was told that he was “too old to relate to the younger people.” Kallman claims that he was ostracized by the other members of the waitstaff because of his age, and that he was unfairly assigned the biggest table, the most work, the most stressful tasks, and forced to work late.
The case against CUT restaurant highlights the issue of age discrimination against restaurant workers in the front of the house. Many restaurants which seek a young, hip staff do so in blatant discrimination against older workers. Under a variety of laws, workers who are victims of age discrimination may be entitled to back pay, mental anguish damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees.