Texas Roadhouse to pay $12 million to settle age-discrimination - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Texas Roadhouse to pay $12 million to settle age-discrimination case

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  Louisville-based Texas Roadhouse will pay $12 million and hire a “diversity director,” among other concessions, to settle an age-discrimination lawsuit with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.

The settlement, agreed to Friday, comes nearly six years after the U.S. government agency filed a lawsuit accusing the company of discriminating against applicants over age 40 for “front-of-the-house” positions such as servers, hosts and bartenders.

The company and government had been set to face off in a second trial in federal court in Massachusetts beginning May 15. In February, a mistrial was declared after jurors could not agree on a verdict.

Texas Roadhouse did not admit liability as part of the settlement, which it called 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,” Texas Roadhouse spokesman Travis Doster said in an emailed statement. “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.”

James Lee, deputy general counsel of the EEOC, said in a press release that the settlement “includes robust terms that will ensure that Texas Roadhouse complies with the law.”

Judge Denise J. Casper, of the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, signed off on the settlement Friday, court records show.  

The $12 million from Texas Roadhouse will establish a fund to compensate people over 40 who applied for “front-of-the-house” jobs between Jan. 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2014.

The settlement also requires Texas Roadhouse to a hire a diversity director and pay for an independent “monitor” to track the company’s compliance with the settlement for three-and-a-half years.

Texas Roadhouse further agreed to step up efforts to hire older workers for the customer-facing jobs, including placing “age-oriented (employment) ads” with seniorjobank.org, the AARP and the National Older Worker’s Council; and, changing videos and photos to show a “more age diverse staff” in the company’s policy manuals and recruiting / hiring materials.

A copy of the agreement is below.

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2017 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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