A lawsuit alleging age discrimination against Texas Roadhouse has been given a trial date in January 2017. The Louisville-based restaurant chain has more than 450 locations across the U.S., including New York.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed four years ago by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Texas Roadhouse avoids hiring workers over the age of 40. The claimants in the suit allege that they were passed over for jobs at the restaurant in favor of younger, less experienced applicants. The EEOC reports that only 1.9 percent of Texas Roadhouse hosts, servers and bartenders are age 40 or older. Nationally, 21 percent of workers in similar jobs are over 40.
In court filings, Texas Roadhouse claims its servers must wear jeans, line dance during shifts and work nights and weekends, and its "statistically adverse" age policies are lawful as they are a necessity for the type of business atmosphere the company provides. A spokesperson for the company said the EEOC is seemingly only interested in imposing quotas.
Typically, age discrimination suits involve the dismissal of older employees. However, statistics show more middle-aged and senior people are seeking jobs, and age discrimination during the hiring process is becoming a larger problem. According to legal experts, an EEOC victory would send the message that age discrimination is prohibited even by industries and brands that stress youth.
New York residents who believe they have faced hiring or workplace discrimination due to their age may want to speak with an employment law attorney in order to determine if any remedies are available. After a review of the evidence, legal counsel might suggest the filing of a discrimination claim with the EEOC or applicable state agency.
Source: Bloomberg, Texas Roadhouse Age Discrimination Lawsuit Could Affect Hiring Practices," Patrick Lee, Sept. 24, 2015