Four former servers at Woodland Hills’ Cables Restaurant will split a $5.7 million jury award. The servers who range in age from 49 to 70 claimed newcleaned house in 2010 and replaced the workers with women in their 20s.
The restaurant denied any wrongdoing and noted that it kept more than a dozen workers, some of whom were as old as 75.
Note: This verdict is likely to be appealed. The amount would appear to be more than is allowed under statutory caps for Age Discrimination in Employment Act lawsuits. Juries are never informed of those caps and base their awards on what they view the actual damages to be. Losing parties then ask the court to reduce the amount to the statutory limit.
When cutting workers, employers should always have objective criteria for determining which workers stay and which leave. Age or membership in any protected class should not be a factor. Instead, the focus should be on each employee’s abil-ity to perform the essential functions of the job.