The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits age discrimination against many employees or job applicants 40 years or older. The ADEA offers protection regarding hiring, training, benefits, compensation, promotion, firing, layoffs and other terms and privileges of employment. With an aging workforce, older employees and applicants should be aware of their rights to guard against unfair employment practices with regard to age. If a worker or job candidate suspects that they are being subjected to unlawful discrimination, showing proof that age was a determining factor in an adverse employment action is key.
In an EEOC case set to go to trial January of 2017, a national restaurant chain’s hiring practices are in question with regard to age discrimination. Claimants in the suit brought against Texas Roadhouse, believe they were passed over for employment in favor of younger, less-experienced applicants. In support of their claims, the EEOC alleges that only a small percentage of employees over 40 occupy front end positions at the restaurant compared with younger employees and that some of the older applicants were told they “wouldn’t fit in” or might not be able to keep up and that the restaurant was looking for “young and perky” applicants.
In response, the restaurant asserts that the jobs go to those most qualified, stating that the job requirements include ‘wearing jeans’, ‘performing of line dances’, and odd hours – presumably the realm of the young. In legal filings, the company said even if its policies have “a statistically adverse impact” on older workers, they “are lawful because they are job-related and consistent with business necessity.”
Legal analysts believe the suit will test the defense used by many companies that they need younger employees to reflect their brand and attract customers. An EEOC victory would signal that the prohibition on age discrimination applies to all employers, even those with youthful brands.
If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated or otherwise impacted because of an employer’s discriminatory practices, you must act quickly. Discrimination based on age, religion, sex, gender, race, national origin, physical or mental disability or in retaliation for filing workers compensation claims or whistleblowing are unacceptable in today’s workplace. Contact the Des Moines Law Offices of Stoltze & Updegraff PLC for help today.
Source: Bloomberg Business, “Texas Roadhouse Age Discrimination Lawsuit Could Affect Hiring Practices. The EEOC says the chain passes over older job applicants.”, by Patrick G Lee and Carol Hymowitz, accessed September 29, 2015.