A national restaurant chain that allegedly wanted only “fresh” employees and rejected “old white guys” has settled an age discrimination class action lawsuit to the tune of nearly $3 million, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Wednesday.
Orlando, Fla.-based Seasons 52 is a member of the Darden family of restaurants, which include the Olive Garden, Yard House and LongHorn Steakhouse. The chain was accused of disproportionately rejecting applicants over 40 years old from both front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house positions.
The alleged incidents occured at 35 locations across the country, and the lawsuit includes some 254 plaintiffs, the EEOC said — although more employees are eligible to come forward to claim a part of the settlement money.
A total of 135 applicants told the EEOC in sworn testimony that managers made a variety of discriminatory comments, such as: “Seasons 52 girls are younger and fresh,” “Most of the workers are younger,” and “Seasons 52 hires young people.”