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Age discrimination lawsuit could affect California workers

California workers should be aware of an age discrimination lawsuit that is pending against Texas Roadhouse, a national restaurant franchise. In 2009, a 40-year-old Florida woman applied for a job as a server at one of the chain's locations. The worker claims she had two years of restaurant experience before applying.

After the manager told the applicant that someone would get back to her, she did not receive any call. When she called the restaurant, she was told that they were not hiring, only to find out that the 19-year-old daughter of a friend with no prior experience was hired. The denied applicant is just one of 55 men and women who are claimants in a lawsuit brought against the company by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The lawsuit was filed in Boston and states that the chain discriminated against workers 40 and older by refusing to hire them as front-of-house employees.

Age discrimination cases often revolve around the dismissal of older workers, but age bias is often difficult to prove. The franchise, which has approximately 43,000 employees at 450 locations across the country, has argued that its policies are lawful since they are job-related. Trial has been scheduled for January 2017, and the lawsuit is expected to set a precedent for companies that claim younger employees are necessary to attract customers. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act forbids employers to discriminate against workers ages 40 and older in hiring and layoffs.

Age discrimination often makes it difficult for older workers to obtain jobs, get promoted or retain their current positions. It is often difficult to prove that the discrimination occurred without having an inside view into the hiring process. An attorney may be able to provide assistance to those who are claiming discrimination when it comes to proving that a company's policies violate the ADEA.

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