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Restaurant chain agrees to settle age discrimination lawsuit

Workers in Pennsylvania and around the country who are 40 years of age or older are protected against unfair treatment in the workplace by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the federal agency tasked with holding companies that violate the provisions of the landmark 1967 law accountable. A case involving these issues was settled when a leading restaurant chain agreed to pay almost $3 million to more than 250 plaintiffs who were allegedly denied employment because they were considered too old.

The EEOC says that Seasons 52 restaurants, which are part of a hospitality group that includes the Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse chains, routinely denied both front-of-house and back-of-house positions to applicants who were 40 years of age or older. A Seasons 52 manager is said to have admitted to the EEOC that older applicants were rejected because they did not fit the image that the restaurant chain was trying to create.

The consent decree settling the case will be administered by the court. Season 52 has not admitted to any wrongdoing, but the restaurant chain has agreed to pay $2.85 million to resolve the matter. Reports indicate that a process will be established to evaluate the claims of any other individuals who may have suffered age discrimination at a Seasons 52 location.

This case reveals that workplace discrimination is taken seriously by federal authorities and the courts. Attorneys with experience in this area could pursue civil remedies on behalf of workers who have been discriminated against or harassed because of their race, age, gender, religion or ethnicity, and they may encourage employers to settle these matters quickly to avoid protracted litigation that could damage their reputations.

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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