The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has sued the Texas Roadhouse restaurant chain for a pattern or practice of age discrimination against older workers. The Texas Roadhouse, which is headquartered in Kentucky, was accused of refusing to hire workers age 40 and older for the "front of the House" positions.
The EEOC also indicated that Texas Roadhouse instructed its managers to emphasize youth in hiring and in one instance, asked an applicant, "How do you feel about working with younger people?" Discriminating against applicants on the basis of their age is prohibited by the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the EEOC is charged with enforcement of the act nationwide.
Age discrimination can be subtle, and for a business that is opening new restaurants, it can be easy to create carefully steer there demographic in an illegal fashion, simply by not hiring older workers.
For job applicants, the fact that they were not hired is almost never stated, so they would have no idea that a potential employer systematically discriminated against them because of their age.
Hiring personnel at Texas Roadhouse told some applicants that restaurant was aimed at "a younger set environment." While that might have been their target market, they are not permitted to refuse to hire qualified older job applicants.
A spokeswomen for the EEOC noted that when the Commission finds evidence of this type of pattern or practice discrimination they will "act aggressively to remedy the violation."
Source: "Texas Roadhouse Refused to Hire Older Workers Nationwide, EEOC Alleges in Lawsuit," EEOC press release, October 3, 2012.