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Restaurant chain settles class-action age discrimination suit

People over 40 in New York often never know why companies rejected their job applications, but age discrimination could play a role. A trial attorney for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission called ageism one of the most common forms of workplace discrimination. Her comment followed the announcement of a $3 million settlement between the EEOC and the restaurant chain Seasons 52, part of the Darden restaurant group. The class-action lawsuit represented 254 plaintiffs although more people might be eligible to make a claim.

The age discrimination, particularly against white men over 40, allegedly occurred at 35 restaurant locations. In sworn testimony, 135 people detailed statements made by restaurant managers that expressed preference for young workers and women. According to one newspaper report, a manager allegedly said that the company did not employ "old white guys." The company reportedly denied jobs to older people for both front and back of house positions.

The terms of the settlement include a court-monitored consent decree that will oversee distributions of compensation to job applicants over age 40. The company will also change its hiring practices according to guidelines mandated by the EEOC. The commission will hire a compliance monitor to enforce the terms of the settlement.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act provides legal protections for older people in the workplace. When a person experiences age discrimination, a consultation with an attorney might reveal how to hold a discriminatory entity accountable. An attorney may organize evidence about unlawful hiring practices, wrongful termination or mistreatment of other applicants and employees in order to file a lawsuit and pursue damages.

Source: FOX News, "'Old white guys' weren't hired, so restaurant chain to pay $3M in age bias settlement", Gregg Re, May 4, 2018

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