Professional Service Agreement

National Restaurant Chain Pays $2.85M to End Class Age Discrimination Suit

May 14, 2018

Orlando, Florida-based Seasons 52, part of the Darden family of restaurants, has agreed to pay $2.85 million and provide certain equitable relief to settle a nationwide class age discrimination lawsuit. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) contends that the national restaurant chain violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) when it denied applicants age 40 and older front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house positions at 35 restaurants around the country.

The EEOC said that during the course of the litigation, more than 135 applicants provided sworn testimony that Seasons 52 managers asked them their age or made age-related comments during their interviews, including: "Seasons 52 girls are younger and fresh," "Most of the workers are younger," "Seasons 52 hires young people," or "We are really looking for someone younger." Moreover, the company hired applicants age 40 and older at a significantly lower rate than applicants under the age of 40.

Under the consent decree resolving the case, a claims process is set up to identify and compensate individuals age 40 and older who applied to Seasons 52 for a front-of-the-house or back-of-the-house positions at 35 Seasons 52 restaurants but were denied a position based on their age. In addition to the monetary relief, Seasons 52 must make significant changes to its recruitment and hiring processes. The restaurant chain is also enjoined from discriminating based on age in the future and must pay for a decree compliance monitor who will ensure that the company does not discriminate further and complies with the terms of the consent decree.