Texas Roadhouse is paying $12 million to settle an employment age-discrimination case that resulted in a mistrial in February.
The case, originally filed in 2011 in US District Court in Boston, was slated for a new trial this spring. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accused the steakhouse chain‘s management of systematically avoiding hiring applicants over 40 years old for front-of-house positions like hosting, serving, and bartending.
In the original complaint, the EEOC said just 1.9 percent of the company’s front-of-house employees were over 40, and alleged that management had often told older applicants that younger employees were better suited for the work. The trial brought further allegations that applications were marked with notes that said things like “old ‘n’ chubby.”
The $12 million will be distributed to applicants over 40 who had applied for front-of-house work from 2007 to 2014, the EEOC said Friday in a statement.
As part of the agreement, the Kentucky-based company — which, according to its website, has 10 restaurants in Massachusetts — is also required to hire a diversity director, change its hiring habits and application processes, provide new training on age discrimination, and increase efforts to recruit older workers.Adam Vaccaro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @adamtvaccaro.