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.
Darden Restaurants, Inc. and its subsidiaries have been sued in Florida for minimum wage, overtime, and other pay violations. Darden owns approximately 1,900 restaurants across the United States, including The Capital Grille, Longhorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden and Red Lobster.
In a Complaint filed in the Southern District of Florida, servers who worked at several Longhorn Steakhouse locations in Florida and at an Olive Garden in Georgia allege that the restaurants failed to pay their employees for all hours worked by forcing their workers to clock in and out after their shifts actually began and before their workday ended and failed to properly maintain accurate employee time records. The workers also allege that restaurants failed to pay them overtime at the rate of one and one-half times their hourly rate of pay for all hours worked over forty. In addition, the employees allege that the restaurants required their waitstaff to perform side work which exceeded twenty percent of their time at work and therefore were not entitled to pay their waiters and waitresses a “tipped” minimum wage below the regular minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Lawyers for the workers also allege that similar pay violations occurred at different locations and brand restaurants centrally owned and operated by Darden and its subsidiaries throughout Florida and the United States. Last year, Joseph Fitapelli of Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP, Maimon Kirschenbaum of Joseph and Kirschenbaum LLP, and Louis Pechman of Berke-Weiss & Pechman LLP (and founder of waiterpay.com), filed a lawsuit on behalf of waiters at Capital Grille alleging similar violations. That lawsuit is still pending in New York federal court.
A 7-Eleven unlawfully terminated a deaf manager in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Florida Law, according to a jury which awarded $934,000 in damages.
In his discrimination complaint, manager James Soliday alleged that 7-Eleven denied his requests for reasonable accommodations and terminated him because of his disability. Soliday has 95% hearing loss and relies entirely on lip reading and visual cues when communicating with someone in person. From the beginning of his 26-year long tenure at 7-Eleven, Soliday was able to work and rose within the company (without face-to-face contact) by using fax machines to transfer and review data and text pagers to communicate with managers, field consultants, market managers, and headquarters. The case arose when Soliday’s supervisor allegedly refused to replace the broken fax machine and eliminated text pagers at the office. This significantly interfered with Soliday’s ability to perform his job and shortly thereafter, Soliday was accused of failing to perform his job duties and his employment was terminated. The jury awarded Soliday $934,000, including $178,000 for lost wages and benefits, and $756,000 for emotional pain and mental anguish.