U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Restaurant Manager Refused to Hire Older Applicants, Federal Agency Charged
PHILADELPHIA - Coatesville Chicken, LLC, doing business as Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, violated federal law when it refused to hire applicants at its Coatesville, Pa., restaurant because of their ages, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
EEOC said that during an interview for a cashier/cook position, the general manager asked Lula Wright-Hill, then age 54, her age and told her she was "too old" to work at the restaurant. The general manager made a similar age inquiry when Kevin Bryant, then age 58, applied for a vacant cook position and told Bryant the restaurant was not hiring. A Department of Veterans Affairs vocational counselor had referred Wright-Hill, Bryant and other veterans to Popeyes for possible employment. EEOC said that the general manager told a vocational counselor not to bring him older applicants because "They don't work hard for me. They get tired easily."
EEOC also alleged that when Leroy Keasley, then age 40, applied for a shift manager position, the general manager also asked Keasley his age and told him that he was "too old" to work for the restaurant.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) makes it illegal to discriminate against individuals 40 or older on the basis of age. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Coatesville Chicken, LLC, d/b/a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Civil Action No. 15-5287 PD) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"It's absurd that Ms. Wright-Hill and Mr. Bryant were well able to serve our country in the military, but then when they sought to return to the civilian workforce, were wrongfully deemed too old to cook or serve chicken by Popeyes general manager," said EEOC Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr.
EEOC Philadelphia District Office Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence said, "EEOC stands ready to ensure that older workers are not deprived of the right to earn a living due to outdated prejudices and biases."
Legal staff of EEOC's Philadelphia District Office prosecutes cases arising out of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, parts of New Jersey, Ohio, and Virginia and the District of Columbia.
EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available at its website, www.eeoc.gov.