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Restaurant chain settles age-discrimination case for $12 million

A national restaurant chain has agreed to pay $12 million to individuals who were affected by the company's practice of not hiring individuals over age 40 for certain jobs.

The settlement was reached earlier this year between Texas Roadhouse and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), according to media reports. The settlement came after a trial in Boston that resulted in a hung jury.

The EEOC accused Texas Roadhouse of not hiring individuals who were over age 40 for "front-of-the-house," public-facing jobs: hosts, servers, server assistants and bartenders. 

In the settlement, a claims process was arranged to identify and compensate people who were affected by the chain's hiring policy. The settlement fund is for people who applied for Texas Roadhouse front-of-the-house jobs between 2007 and 2014.

By the numbers: age discrimination in Michigan

The Texas Roadhouse case underscores an ongoing truth: despite being illegal since 1967, age discrimination is still with us. The Age Discrimination Act of 1967 makes it illegal discriminate, based on age. The federal law applies to all conditions of employment, including hiring, firing and pay.

Here are the number of Michigan age-discrimination charged filed with the EEOC in recent years:

2012: 545

2013: 576

2014: 624

2015: 544

2016: 623

The largest number of charges in the last 10 years was 715 in 2010.

Learn to spot age discrimination

Many people in their 40s and 50s who are in the workforce sense they are being discriminated against. Discriminatory behavior, however, can be difficult to identify. Here are signs you are experiencing age discrimination

  • You are being assigned unpleasant duties.
  • Your company is offering buyouts to older workers, yet hiring younger workers.
  • You stop receiving raises, even though your performance continues to be stellar.
  • The scores on your performance reviews "fall off a cliff" for no reason.

If you believe you are the victim of age discrimination, it is important to speak with an attorney who has knowledge and experience in this area of the law.

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