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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Friday it has reached a $12 million settlement of an age discrimination lawsuit filed against restaurant chain Texas Roadhouse Inc. that’s been going on for more than five years.
The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Boston, alleged the Louisville, Kentucky-based chain had violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act by discriminating against applicants for hourly “front-of-the house” positions, such as servers and hosts, because they were 40 or older since at least 2007.
The EEOC said the consent decree resolving the case, which has been approved by the court, sets up a claims process that will identify and compensate affected individuals 40 and older who applied to the Texas Roadhouse for a front-of-the house position between Jan. 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2014.
The consent decree also includes an injunction that prevents the chain from discriminating on the basis of age in the future, among other provisions, the EEOC said.
Mark Penzel, the EEOC’s co-lead trial attorney for this case, said in a statement: “Applicants rarely know that they have been denied a job because of their age. When the Commission uncovers such evidence, it will act aggressively and doggedly to remedy the violation.”
The company said in a statement: “The settlement was not an admission of guilt but rather a business decision. After seven years of litigation, including a recent mistrial, we still faced a prospect of many more years of legal bills, trials, and appeals. With that in mind, we felt it was in everyone's best interest to settle this and move on. Texas Roadhouse is and always will be an equal opportunity employer.”
BOSTON—Restaurant chain Texas Roadhouse Inc. has for years illegally discriminated against applicants for hourly “front-of-the-house” positions, such as servers and hosts, because they were 40 or older, a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charges.