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Popular restaurant chain settles discrimination claim

Discrimination or harassment lawsuits often deal with race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. Another type of discrimination that is perhaps less obvious involves the unfair treatment of an employee due to their age. While it's the responsibility of the plaintiff's attorneys to give credibility to an ageism suit, sometimes the best course of action for the defendant is to simply settle as quickly as possible in order to avoid litigation costs and bad publicity. Even if a defendant wholly denies the allegations, a defense attorney can help the company decide if it's best to settle early.

Nationwide restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday was recently involved in this type of situation. The chain was accused of failing to retain certain employment records such as job applications, which in turn led to the restaurant denying employment to applicants aged 40 and older. The plaintiff in the lawsuit was the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Ruby Tuesday settled the suit by agreeing to fork over $575,000.

The restaurant has not conceded liability. A spokesperson for Ruby Tuesday stated that the chain will continue to strongly deny all of the age discrimination claims that were brought against them. The company has agreed to strictly meet quotas for hiring workers aged 40 and over in the next few years. Ruby Tuesday agreed to the settlement in order to prevent further disruption of their daily operations. Three of the six restaurant locations accused of discrimination have been closed.

The age discrimination suit claims that the alleged favoritism began occurring in 2005. The money that Ruby Tuesday paid in the suit will likely go towards damages paid to older restaurant applicants that were not hired. It is not known at this time how many people are expected to receive cash from the suit. The EEOC states that the case represents their organization's commitment to ending discriminatory hiring practices. Regardless of whether the allegations against Ruby Tuesday are valid, it's likely that they saved a lot of money by agreeing to the consent decree.

Source:, "Ruby Tuesday will pay $575,000 to settle age discrimination claim" Brian Bowling, Dec. 09, 2013

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