Restaurant Manager Refused to Hire Three, Including Two Veterans, Because They Were 'Too Old,' Federal Agency Charged
PHILADELPHIA - Coatesville Chicken, LLC, doing business as Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen in Coatesville, Pa., will pay $36,000 and provide significant equitable relief to settle a federal age discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.
According to the suit, the restaurant engaged in age discrimination when it refused to hire military veteran Lula Wright-Hill, then 54, Leroy Keasley, then 40, and Kevin Bryant, then 58 and also a veteran, for various positions. Each completed an application that required them to reveal their dates of birth. In addition, EEOC alleged that during Wright-Hill's and Keasley's interviews, the general manager asked them how old they were and told them that they were "too old" to work for the restaurant.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) makes it illegal to discriminate against individuals 40 or older on the basis of age. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Coatesville Chicken, LLC, d/b/a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Civil Action No. 15-5287 (PSD)) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"How sad that this employer disadvantaged three applicants, including two military veterans, because of their age," said EEOC Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. "EEOC is here to fight for Americans' rights to be free from age discrimination."
In addition to the $36,000 in monetary relief, which represents full back pay with liquidated damages, to Wright-Hill, Keasley and Bryant, the consent decree settling the suit enjoins Coatesville Chicken from engaging in age discrimination or retaliation in the future. Pursuant to the decree, the restaurant has revised its job application to no longer require applicants to state their age or date of birth. Coatesville Chicken will implement and disseminate an anti-discrimination policy and provide training on federal anti-discrimination laws to all managers and employees who receive job applications. The restaurant will also post a notice about this settlement.
EEOC Philadelphia District Office Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, "We appreciate that Coatesville Chicken worked with us to resolve the matter without engaging in protracted litigation. In addition to the compensation for lost wages, the remedial measures will protect applicants and employees from age discrimination."
EEOC's Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. The legal staff of the EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecutes discrimination cases arising from Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available at its website, www.eeoc.gov.