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.
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.
Bartenders and servers at New York and Florida locations of Ruby Tuesday have sued the restaurant for unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, unpaid spread-of-hours, and for requiring bartenders to make up cash shortages in the tip pool allocation between servers and food runners, hosts, and bartenders.
The tipped employees allege in their Class Action Complaint, filed in New York federal court on April 17, 2012, that they were forced to work off the clock and not paid for the actual hours they worked. They assert the restaurant only allowed employees to clock-in once customers arrived, and then required them to clock-out after the last customers left, even though they were required to work before and after these times. The employees claim that as a result they were not paid minimum wage for the actual hours they worked and did not receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per week. The workers also claim that they did not receive spread-of-hours pay, or an extra hour’s wage for every shift over 10 hours. Additionally, Ruby Tuesday is accused of improperly deducting money from the tips of the bartenders by requiring them to use their own tips to make up for any differences in the tip-out process between the servers and hosts, food runners, and bartenders.
The servers in the case are asking for compensation for unpaid wages with interest, liquidated damages, unpaid overtime, unpaid spread-of-hours, reimbursement for money taken from the bartenders in the tip-out process, and attorneys’ fees and costs.