Older job seekers may still seek answers following mistrial in EEOC age discrimination suit.
An unusual discrimination suit filed without a formal complaint has ended up in mistrial, after a jury failed to return with a verdict three times, according to ProPublica in "Federal Court May Decide If Employers Can Reject Older Job Seekers to Protect 'Image'."
The case began several years ago, when an employee of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission went out to eat at a Texas Roadhouse restaurant. The employee began asking questions of staff about the restaurant’s hiring practices. This led to an investigation from which the EEOC concluded that the chain restaurant company had a practice of not hiring older applicants to protect its image.
In 2011, the agency filed suit despite it being unusual because a complaint had not actually been made to the agency and the EEOC does not bring lawsuits without receiving a complaint from a member of the public.
This case is important for a couple of reasons.
The first is that older Americans often have a more difficult time finding employment than younger people. For this reason, the law protects them from some forms of discrimination, but it has never been decided if that includes protection from discrimination to protect a company's image. Another reason this is important, is that it is not known how President Trump’s administration will deal with age discrimination cases and whether it will be as aggressive as the Obama administration.
Reference: ProPublica (Jan. 31, 2017) "Federal Court May Decide If Employers Can Reject Older Job Seekers to Protect 'Image'."