Fried chicken lovers in Texas may have frequented the quick-service restaurant Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen when they were in the mood for some spicy comfort food. Coatesville Chicken LLC, doing business as Popeye's, recently settled a federaldiscrimination lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of three individuals. The plaintiffs allege that the company refused to hire them when their age was revealed.
The plaintiffs -- aged 40, 54 and 58 -- tried to obtain work at the fast food chain in various positions. Two of the plaintiffs are veterans. The application that the plaintiffs filled out allegedly asked them to disclose their age. According to the lawsuit, during interviews with two of the applicants, the interviewer asked them their age. After responding, the plaintiffs were purportedly told that they were too old to work in the restaurant.
By consent decree, Coatesville is prohibited from ever engaging in age discrimination or retaliation. As part of the settlement, the job application must be changed so that it no longer asks for a candidate's age or birthday. Additionally, the defendant will create and enforce an anti-discrimination policy and will train managers and employees on the policy. The plaintiffs will be paid $36,000 which covers back pay and damages.
The decision to hire, fire or promote someone in Texas cannot be based on a legally protected status. Applicants who feel that they have been denied employment opportunities based on discrimination may consider legal recourse. Taking a stand against discrimination may vindicate the aggrieved and can also help prevent these types of unlawful practices from occurring ion the future.