A new bar in Barcelona, Entrepanes Díaz, has made headlines for only hiring waiters over the age of 50. The move is an unusual one for a business in the hospitality industry, as many restaurants and bars tend to hire younger workers. Unfortunately, age discrimination in restaurants is widespread.
Recently, for example. Olive Garden’s sister restaurant was sued for failing to hire older workers for front and back of house positions.
Entrepanes Díaz’s new practices are a sorely needed departure from the status quo, as Spain currently has two million unemployed individuals between the age of 45 and 64. Many of these people feel discouraged and demoralized during the job search because age discrimination is so prevalent among employers. The owner of the bar said that he “was looking for waiters who are over 50 because I knew they’d be fantastic and because society has unjustly pushed them out of the job market.”
Age discrimination is a widespread problem
Entrepanes Díaz’s move to hire only workers over 50 is quite an unusual one. Many employers, both in the U.S. and abroad, are guilty of illegal age discrimination, where they disfavor employees over 40 solely because of their age. This practice is detrimental both for older workers and for employers, as employees over the age of 40 often have a well-developed skill-set and wide range of experiences.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act
The U.S. Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects employees over the age of 40 from age-related discrimination in the workplace. This law states that employers with 20 or more employees cannot base employment decisions on the fact that an employee or job applicant is 40 years of age or older. Some examples of unlawful employment decisions are failing to hire, firing, demoting, or providing less training to older workers. The ADEA permits employers to favor older employees because of their age, even when doing so adversely impacts workers who are younger than 40.
New York State and City laws provide even more protection
In New York, the New York State Human Rights Law (The State Law) and the New York City Human Rights Law (The City Law) provide broader protections than the Federal law. Whereas the ADEA only applies to employers with 20 or more workers, the NYSHRL and NYCHRL protect employees in workplaces with 4 or more workers. They also provide protections for a larger age group, prohibiting age discrimination against employees of all ages (18 and above). In addition, unlike its Federal counterpart, to successfully claim age discrimination under the NYCHRL, an employee or a candidate for employment need only prove that age was “a motivating factor” (not the only factor) in the employee refusing to hire, demote fire, or provide less training.
If you have experienced age discrimination, consider legal action
Victims of age discrimination should consider legal action as a means of recovering damages such as front pay, back pay, lost wages, and attorney’s fees. If an employer is found guilty of age discrimination, the court may order it to reinstate the employee to his or her former position. Because New York City’s laws provide considerably broader protections for employees than the Federal law, victims of age discrimination should seek an attorney well-versed in not only federal laws, but also city and state ones.
The lawyers at Akin Law Group are highly experienced with all aspects of city, state, and federal employment laws. Contact us at 866.685.5163 to set up a free consultation to discuss your rights and options.