Compliance

Texas Roadhouse to Pay $12 Million in Age Discrimination Lawsuit

The restaurant chain allegedly denied specific positions to applicants ages 40 years and older from 2007 to 2014. 

By Amanda Umpierrez editors@plansponsor.com | April 03, 2017

In settling an age discrimination lawsuit, Kentucky-based restaurant chain Texas Roadhouse will have to pay $12 million, along with altering its hiring and recruiting practices, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency who filed the suit.

Civil Action No. 1:11-cv-11732-DJC was filed in September 2011 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts by the EEOC, which alleged that Texas Roadhouse had denied “front-of-the-house” positions, including “servers, hosts, server assistants and bartenders,” to those ages 40 and older—thus violating federal law. The suit also alleged that Texas Roadhouse practiced a “nationwide pattern” of neglecting to hire front-of-the-house employees due to age. The almost month-long trial resulted in a hung jury in the beginning of the year, and was scheduled for a retrial on May 15, 2017, according to the EEOC. 

A claim process, approved by Judge Denise Casper, is set to identify and compensate those ages 40 and older who applied to Texas Roadhouse for a front-of-the-house position between Jan. 1, 2007 and Dec. 31, 2014 and may have been affected.

The consent decree, according to the EEOC, will be implemented for three and a half years, and in addition to monetary relief, will also comprise of an order averting Texas Roadhouse from any sort of age-discrimination in the future. The company is also mandated to hire a diversity director, who will be supervising the company’s compliance with decree terms; pay for a decree compliance monitor; and comply with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), according to the EEOC.

“Identifying and resolving age discrimination in employment is critical for older Americans,” says Kevin Berry, EEOC New York district director. “The ability to find a new job should not be impeded because an employer considers someone the wrong age.”

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