- The Texas Roadhouse restaurant chain will pay $12 million to settle an age discrimination charge by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
- The charges stem from complaints by job applicants who said the restaurant denied them front-of-the-house positions because they were 40 years old or older. Hosts, bartenders, servers and assistant server assistants are the positions for which they were denied.
- The EEOC, which first filed the case in 2011, said the restaurant engaged in a pattern of age discrimination in hiring hourly workers. A trial earlier this year ended with a hung jury. A retrial was set for May until the parties reached a settlement.
The EEOC has been especially watchful of ageism as of late, particularly in the tech and hospitality industries. This settlement shows that the commission isn't planning on letting up any time soon.
Systemic ageism often starts at the recruitment level — perhaps before a recruiter sees any candidates. Some job sites may unwittingly cut off older applicants by placing limits on graduation dates and listing of experience, which then feeds into the pipeline of candidates (though by some accounts those limits were purely accidental). Any strong recruiting program should ensure that as much bias as possible is stripped from the process.
It is still uncertain how the 2016 presidential election will affect the EEOC’s enforcement efforts. It's likely that the EEOC will approach cases largely on a reporting basis, and will not initiate investigations of employers without charge.