Texas Roadhouse sought 'young, hot' employees, lawsuit says
Older applicants for positions at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant chain were allegedly rejected in favor of much younger employees, according to claims in a lawsuit from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Hiring managers at the Kentucky-based steakhouse company allegedly told jobseekers ages 40 and older that “we need the young, hot ones who are ‘chipper’ and stuff” and that they were “basically looking for young teenagers,” according to the complaint.
Since 2007, some applicants were told that they “seem older to be applying for this job” and that “there are younger people here who can grow with the company,” according to the suit.
Training and employment manuals exclusively featured images of young people and youth was emphasized to hiring managers, the suit alleges.
Fewer than 2% of the chain’s so-called front of the house employees –- visible workers such as servers, hosts, greeters and bartenders –- fall into older age groups, according to the complaint. Texas Roadhouse has four locations in California, with another opening by the end of the year.
The suit seeks new hiring policies and monetary relief for applicants denied employment because of their age. Older workers are among the hardest hit by the recession.
-- Tiffany Hsu