It’s ironic the number of people protesting and crying discrimination — just because they are Mexicans, Muslims, or whatever else they might be — when American women are being deprived the right of employment because of their age. If anyone wishes to look closely, those mentioned above claiming discrimination are not discriminated against if they are holding a job.
According to the US Department of Labor, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects certain applicants and employees 40 years of age and older from discrimination on the basis of age in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, or terms, conditions or privileges of employment.
Allow me to give some examples:
A good friend of mine, a beautiful and classy 40-year-old woman, with 20 years of experience as a hostess, applied for a position at a local hotel. I had accompanied her to the interview, and was waiting for her in the waiting area; I finally saw her coming out, almost in tears. She told me: “I’m not going to get the position.” When I asked her what made her believe that, she said, “I saw the young man putting my application to the bottom of all the applications.”
At the time, a very young blonde, blue-eyed girl came out very euphoric, saying: “I start this coming Monday.”
Since I cannot help being nosy, and perceiving her accent, I approached her and said: “Congratulations. I notice you have an accent — where are you from?”
“Czechoslovakia,” she responded.
I really wanted to get in a conversation with her and asked: “How long have you been here?” “Three months — and this is my first job, ever.”
There was so much commotion in that waiting area that honestly, I didn’t want to leave. There came out a very elegant black lady who was just furious. The same young man who interviewed my friend interviewed her. The lady said: “I have never been insulted this way in my entire life. I am a professional who has worked as an executive for banks and other big corporations and this young man insulted me with an offer as a maid. He even told me take it or leave it.”
By the way, all this nonsense happened in one of Steve Wynn’s properties.
Another friend of mine applied for a position as Immigration paralegal with a native Russian attorney. She was 53 years old with 25 years of experience. She was interviewed by the office manager who told her she was going to have hand surgery the following day, but that she would call her the following Wednesday. One week passed and she never received a call back.
I told my friend, “You can give her a follow-up call; she might have misplaced your phone number.” Three calls to her later, and she never received a response from the “supposed professional” office manager.
My friend said that experience doesn’t mean a thing any more. So I told her I was going to stop by, pretending to be a client. There I found a young girl with very few active neurons in her head. She didn’t bother to say Good Morning or anything like it. The only thing that came out of her mouth was: “What do you want?”
“Excuse me! Excuuuuse me! What do you think I want at the office of an immigration attorney? How long have you been working here?”
What do you think then came out of this young woman’s mouth? “I have been here for a week, I don’t know what I am doing, and I don’t need any aggravation from you.”
This is the kind of employee that employers hire nowadays by recommendation of their “office managers,” who apparently don’t want to be influenced by any really qualified prospective applicant’s resume.
Another friend of mine, over 40 years of age, applied for a position at a bank, in another State, but a bank having branches in Nevada — take your pick: Bank of America or Wells Fargo. This is a woman who has worked in banking all her life, has many years of experience, a degree in International law, and has complete knowledge of several languages. Note that I said knowledge; I know several people who are illiterate (they never learned to read or write) yet still speak another language.
The interviewer put his legs on top of his desk and asked her: “Are you planning to take my job?” My friend who is as cynical as I am, stood up and was ready to leave when he said: “I haven’t finished speaking.” My friend said: “Yes, you have; I would never work for someone as insecure as you are. Remember Sir, that nobody takes your job away from you; you just give it away.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced that Texas Roadhouse, a national, Kentucky-based restaurant chain, has engaged in a nationwide pattern or practice of age discrimination in hiring hourly “front of the house” employees.
The EEOC’s lawsuit Civil Action No. 1:11-cv-11732-DJC, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, alleged that since at least 2007, Texas Roadhouse has been discriminating against a class of applicants for “front of the house” and other public, visible positions such as servers, hosts, and bartenders, by failing to hire them because of their age — 40 or older.
“The number of age discrimination charges filed with the EEOC has risen significantly over the years, which prompted the Commission to conduct a meeting on the subject last December,” said Jacqueline A. Berrien, Chair of the EEOC. “Denying jobs to qualified applicants who are over 40 years old, on account of their age, is illegal, and as we heard during the Commission meeting, it can have devastating consequences for older workers and their families.”
The EEOC alleged that Texas Roadhouse has hired significantly few “front of the house” employees aged 40 or older. In addition, Texas Roadhouse allegedly instructed its managers to hire younger job applicants. For example, Texas Roadhouse emphasized youth when training managers about hiring employees for its restaurants. All of the images of employees in its training and employment manuals are of young people.
Isn’t it ironic that the CEO of Texas Roadhouse, Wayne Kent Taylor, is a 60-year-old man? And his Vice President, Doug Thompson is also well over 40. What does Mr. Taylor believe he is… a teenager?
It is more than important that in this difficult economic climate we redouble our nation’s commitment to the principles of nondiscrimination in the workplace.
As David Lopez. General Counsel of the EEOC said: “As a national law enforcement agency, the EEOC will vigorously protect the rights of job applicants to ensure that hiring decisions are based on abilities, not age.”
I am sure Dr. Kevorkian never thought we were going to miss him so much. We are too young for Social Security and too old for employment. Death is obviously our only solution, since the government doesn’t care about us.
Perly Viasmensky is the General Manager of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Perly Viasmensky, email her at pviasmensky@lasvegas tribune.com.