One of America’s largest restaurant operators had a policy of not hiring “old white guys.” It’s true.
A manager at Seasons 52 admitted the chain did not employ “old white guys,” a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged. “We don’t hire people over 40,” another manager allegedly admitted.
The EEOC found 254 people who claimed they were not hired at Seasons 52 because of their age, The Orlando Sentinel  reported. Seasons 52 is a chain of upscale wine bars and grills, owned by Darden Restaurants.
Seasons 52 managers refused to hire older people as waiters in order to project a “young and hip image,” the EEOC alleged. The discrimination was a “top-down” policy at the chain and not the work of rogue restaurant managers, the EEOC alleged.
We Don’t Hire People Over 40
The number of older people working at Seasons 52 did not match the age of the population a statistical report from the University of California at Irvine introduced as evidence revealed. The EEOC statistics did not show whether the number of white people working at Seasons 52 reflected the population.
Darden Restaurants is a publically-traded Fortune 500 company that owns the Olive Garden, Longhorn Steak House, Capital Grill, the Yard House, Bahama Breeze, Eddie V’s, Seasons 52, and Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen restaurant brands. Darden operates more than 1,700 restaurants and employees 175,000 people in the United States and Canada.
Darden agreed to settle the lawsuit for $2.85 million on May 3, The Sentinel reported. The company also agreed to retrain Seasons 52 managers not to discriminate, and to offer all the older people discriminated against a chance to reapply for jobs.
The lawsuit only covered the Seasons 52 restaurants and not the rest of the Darden brands. News stories did not say if discrimination against older white job applicants was happening at other Darden-owned eateries.
Discrimination against older workers in Florida’s restaurant and tourism industries is a pervasive problem, Robert Weisberg an attorney at the EEOC office in Miami revealed. Many restaurants, hotels, and hospitality businesses simply refuse to hire persons over a certain age.
Why Older People need Off Grid Jobs and Businesses
The Seasons 52 case demonstrates why older Americans need to consider self-employment, freelance work, and the gig-economy instead of the job market.
It is very easy for managers, and business owners to discriminate against people because of age, faith, or race and get away with it. Contrary to popular belief, most bigots are smart enough to beat the system when it comes to discriminating.
One way to protect yourself from discrimination in the job market is to be your own boss. Having job skills or products that you can market directly to customers is the best way to keep income coming in, in today’s changing economy.
Older and white Americans that rely on the job market are likely to be facing more discrimination in the years ahead. Millennials (persons under 37) will outnumber Baby Boomers (people aged 54 to 72) for the first time in 2018, Pew Research reported. There are currently around 74 million Millennials and about 73 million Baby boomers in the United States.