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Olive Garden faces age discrimination suit

As many Indiana residents know, the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants because of their age. Despite the protections of the ADEA, many workers over the age of 40 complain of receiving less favorable treatment from an employer or potential employer because of their age.

In recent news, an Olive Garden employee has brought an age discrimination suit against his employer. The employee claims that management wrongfully terminated his employment because of his age.

The employee involved had worked at the Olive Garden for a few years. In addition to his complaints of age discrimination, the employee also claims that he was subjected to a hostile work environment. He claims that Olive Garden employees falsely accused him of violating company policy and gave this as a reason for his termination. He was then replaced with a younger employee.

However, it is important to know that under the ADEA, employees are protected from receiving less favorable treatment from an employer because of their age. An employer may not discriminate based on age when making employment decisions about hiring, promotions, compensation or training. Employment practices that seem neutral but are unfair overall to workers over the age of 40 may also violate the ADEA.

Specifically, the ADEA applies to workplaces with 20 or more employees. An employee who is protected under the ADEA may file an age discrimination claim under both state and federal law. The employee may seek reinstatement and promotion, money damages, back wages, injunctive relief and attorney fees.

As this case plays out, it will be interesting to see Olive Garden's reaction to such accusations. If the company is found liable of discrimination, this could result in serious repercussions for the restaurant.

Source: The West Virginia Record, "Charleston man accused Olive Garden of age discrimination," Kayla Asbury, July 2, 2012

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