Texas Roadhouse, a nationwide restaurant chain operating in 49 states, is locked in a battle with the Obama administration over its hiring practices. In 2011, the firm —
known for its line-dancing staff —
was sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that Texas Roadhouse does not hire workers over 40, The Hill reported.
Texas Roadhouse argues that the case follows a pattern in which the EEOC takes action against private companies despite the fact that no one has filed a complaint. Groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers argue that the EEOC is spending too much time focused on cases in which it has received no specific complaints of misconduct. Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander issued a report in November that concluded that the EEOC has a backlog of more than 70,000 cases.
"It’s time for the EEOC to turn the lights on — and explain to Congress why it chases no-complaint cases when there are over 70,000 cases of racial and other complaints of discrimination that are back-logged on and not acted on," Texas Roadhouse CEO and founder W. Kent Taylor said in urging the EEOC to stop targeting his company.
While an EEOC spokeswoman declined comment on the Texas Roadhouse case, she said the agency’s mandate under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 "permits EEOC commissioners to file charges even when there are no charges from members of the public."
Republicans on the House Education and Workforce Committee have scheduled a hearing on Tuesday aimed at drawing attention to what they say is a systemic problem at the EEOC.
"They're going after businesses without having to show that there's a problem," said Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., a committee member and critic of the agency.
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