Age Discrimination Lawsuit Brought by EEOC Against Texas Roadhouse Restaurant Chain

Age discrimination claims continue to be on the rise. Texas Roadhouse, a Kentucky-based chain of more than 350 restaurants in 46 U.S. states, faces a lawsuit from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over claims of alleged widespread age discrimination in hiring for host, bartender, and server positions. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, requests anti-discrimination training for managers and employees aimed at preventing further alleged age discrimination. The lawsuit also requests monetary damages for people denied employment based on discriminatory reasons.

The EEOC alleges that the restaurant chain discriminates against older job applicants. According to a press release issued by the EEOC, the number of complaints received by the agency has increased significantly since at least 2007, prompting the agency to commence an investigation at the end of 2010. That investigation led to the current lawsuit. According the lawsuit:

Defendants’ hiring officials have told older unsuccessful applicants that “there are younger people here who can grow with the company”; “you seem older to be applying for this job” and “do you think you would fit in?”; the restaurant was “a younger set environment”; “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 think you are a little too old to work here… we like younger people”; “we’re hiring for greeters but we need the young, hot ones who are ‘chipper’ and stuff”; “our age group is in their young 20s, college students”; “I’m basically looking for young teenagers”; and “we really go with a younger crowd and have a younger establishment.”

The lawsuit is premised on the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), a federal statute that protects employees 40 years old or older from discrimination based on age. The ADEA prohibits favoring a younger person over a person who is at least 40 years old solely based on age in all aspects of employment. This includes hiring, firing, promotions, layoff, job duties and assignments, benefits, and other features or requirements of employment.

The ADEA further prohibits harassment based on age in the workplace for people 40 years old or older. This includes offensive comments about an employee’s age. The conduct must rise to the level of creating a “hostile work environment” for the law to apply, and can apply against a supervisor, co-worker, or even a customer or client if the employer fails to take reasonable steps to prevent the harassment. The law also prohibits policies that negatively impact employees 40 years old or older if those policies do not have some reasonable basis other than age.

The Law Office of Alan H. Crede, P.C. assists employees who have suffered unlawful discrimination in the workplace. We devote our practice to employment law and exclusively represent the rights of employees. To schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your case, contact the Firm through our website or at (617)973-6434.

More Age Discrimination Blog Posts by The Law Office of Alan H. Crede, P.C.:

Age Discrimination Misconceptions: A Little Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing, Boston Employment Lawyer Blog (April 1, 2011)
Age Discrimination Mixed Motive Standard Before the Supreme Court, Boston Employment Lawyer Blog (January 1, 2009)
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) Fails to Account for Emotional Distress Damages, Boston Employment Lawyer Blog (August 13, 2008)