Local Wings Chain Engaged in Long-Standing Discrimination Against Older Workers, Federal Agency Says
HOUSTON - Bayou City Wings, a Houston-based restaurant chain, has unlawfully engaged in a pattern or practice of intentional age discrimination in its hiring of host and wait staff, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
EEOC's lawsuit said that since at least 2008, Bayou City Wings has been discriminating against a class of applicants for "front of house" positions, such as food servers and hosts, by failing to hire them because of their age (40 years and older).
According to EEOC's lawsuit, Bayou City Wings' upper management instructed other managers not to recruit and hire older job seekers and disciplined and terminated a manager who refused to comply. The agency also charged that since at least 2008 to about November 2013, the company failed to preserve employment records, including the job applications of unsuccessful applicants, in violation of federal law.
Age discrimination, as well as the failure to preserve proper job application records, violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
EEOC filed this lawsuit (Civil Action No. 4:16-cv-03245) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas (Houston Division), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. EEOC seeks, among other things, monetary relief for applicants denied employment because of their age; the adoption of policies and procedures to remedy and prevent age discrimination; and training on discrimination for all Bayou City Wings managers and human resources staff.
"Sadly, age discrimination continues to be an employment barrier for many Americans," said Rayford O. Irvin, district director of EEOC's Houston office. "Denying jobs to qualified applicants who are over 40 because of their age is unlawful, yet older job applicants often do not know they are victims of this unlawful discrimination."
Jim Sacher, regional attorney for EEOC's Houston District Office, added, "Mature workers are entitled to just as much protection under the law as younger workers. EEOC will continue to enforce our federal anti-discrimination laws to protect all workers."
Individuals who believe they may have been denied a position at Bayou City Wings because of their age, if 40 or older, may contact EEOC at (713) 651-4967.
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the agency is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.