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Ruby Tuesday Will Pay $575,000 to Resolve EEOC Class Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Ruby Tuesday, Inc. will pay $575,000 and provide significant equitable relief to settle a class age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced this week.

The EEOC alleged that Ruby Tuesday engaged in a pattern or practice of age discrimination against job applicants who were 40 years of age or older at six of the chain's restaurants located in West Mifflin, Greensburg, Altoona, Du Bois, and Indiana, Pa., and in Beachwood, Ohio, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).

The restaurant chain also failed to preserve employment records, including employment applications, as required by the ADEA and EEOC regulations, the EEOC charged in its lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court of the Western District of Pennsylvania (EEOC v. Ruby Tuesday, Inc., Civil Action No. 09-1330).

"This case demonstrates the agency's ongoing commitment to challenge discriminatory barriers to hiring," said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez.  "Vigorous law enforcement efforts on behalf of older workers are critical to the EEOC's mission to eradicate barriers to employment."

EEOC District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. said, "The EEOC is committed to combatting unlawful age discrimination in the workplace and will hold employers responsible if they make hiring decisions based on age rather than the applicant's ability to do the job."  

In addition to the $575,000 in monetary relief, the three-and-one-half-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit enjoins Ruby Tuesday from engaging in future age discrimination or retaliation and provides substantial non-monetary relief at the affected Ruby Tuesday locations.  

Among other things, Ruby Tuesday, Inc. will:

  • Implement numerical goals for hiring and recruitment of job applicants age 40 and older at the affected locations;

  • Review its job advertisements to make certain they do not violate the ADEA's prohibitions against age discrimination;

  • Conduct audits, including random reviews of hiring decisions, to ensure non-discrimination and compliance with the terms of the consent decree;

  • Evaluate the job performance of people with hiring authority for the six stores named in the consent decree and set their compensation (including bonuses), in part, based on their degree of success in helping Ruby Tuesday achieve its goals of ensuring that its recruitment and hiring practices provide equal employment opportunities for people who are 40 or older;

  • Designate a decree compliance monitor for oversight of compliance with the requirements of the ADEA and the terms of the consent decree;

  • Provide extensive training on the requirements of the ADEA and the consent decree to the decree compliance monitor, human resources personnel and hiring authorities of the six stores named in the consent decree; and

  • Report to the EEOC and keep records about its hiring practices and compliance with the consent decree.

Philadelphia Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, "We are pleased that Ruby Tuesday worked with us to craft a comprehensive settlement that will benefit all employees and applicants.  In addition to the monetary compensation for the class members, the extensive training and equitable measures are designed to improve recruitment and hiring of older workers and protect all applicants from age discrimination." 

© Copyright U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity CommissionNational Law Review, Volume III, Number 349

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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

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