Old White Guys Need Not Apply

The victory of the plaintiff in recent Supreme Court case of Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission does not mean that all forms of discrimination are now legal in the United States.

Far from it.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced that it had settled a three-year-old lawsuit against Orlando-based Darden Restaurants, a Fortune 500 company with 1,700 restaurants and 175,000 employees that owns the brands Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, Eddie V’s, and Seasons 52.

The problem?

The federal lawsuit, which was filed in February 2015, alleged that job candidates at Seasons 52 were told that the restaurants didn’t hire “old white guys.” The Free Society Laurence M. Vance Best Price: $12.00 Buy New $19.95 (as of 11:20 EDT - Details)

Seasons 52, which has forty-one locations in twenty states, “is a fresh grill and wine bar that offers a seasonal menu inspired by the fresh appeal of a farmer’s market and what’s good now.” The restaurant uses “ingredients at their peak and rustic cooking techniques, like brick-oven roasting and open fire grilling over oak and mesquite, which bring out the natural flavors of food.”

The EEOC

  • said managers at Darden’s Seasons 52 chain tried to portray a young and hip image by hiring younger servers and hosts.
  • alleged that Seasons 52 wouldn’t hire two men, Anthony Scornavacca, then 52, and Hugo Alfaro, then 42, because of their age.
  • commissioned a statistical report from a University of California, Irvine professor that said Seasons 52 had not hired enough older employees.
  • said it contacted thousands of people over 40 who applied for jobs at Seasons 52 and found 254 people who claimed they were treated with bias.
  • alleged that one manager bluntly said that Seasons 52 didn’t employ “old white guys.”

“Often, discrimination cases are hard to prove,” said David Seltzer, an attorney on the case with the EEOC’s Miami district office. “But here, Seasons 52 interviews across locations repeatedly told applicants things like ‘We don’t hire people over 40,’ ‘Seasons 52 girls are younger and fresh’ or asked them for their date of birth, high school graduation date or a driver’s license.”

Lawyers for Darden argued the incidents were isolated and that there wasn’t proof of a top-down effort to exclude older workers.

According to the $2.85 million settlement, Seasons 52 admitted “no liability and continues to deny the allegations but will be required to hold new training for all hiring managers regarding ‘age-neutral and non-discriminatory recruiting, interviewing, and hiring; and how to avoid stereotypes in hiring and in the workplace, including ageism and age stereotypes.’” The restaurant chain also agreed “to have its hiring practices monitored for three years by an independent attorney.” The settlement will go to the 254 people identified as part of the lawsuit, as well as additional people expected to come forward. The EEOC “will be contacting people and putting out a call for Seasons 52 applicants that may have been affected.” Alleged victims of the hiring discrimination “will also be invited to reapply for employment.”

The federal government is obsessed with discrimination. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination “because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” This was followed by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

But discrimination is a crime in search of a victim. Every real crime needs a tangible victim with measurable damages. Discrimination is not aggression, force, coercion, or threat. It should never be a crime. To outlaw discrimination is to outlaw freedom of thought. To restrict discrimination is to restrict freedom of assembly. To limit discrimination is to limit property rights. To regulate discrimination is to regulate freedom of association. Free Trade or Protecti... Laurence M. Vance Buy New $3.79 (as of 11:20 EDT - Details)

Discrimination means freedom.

No one has the right to any particular membership, residence, product, or service. No one has the right to be liked, accepted, received, or approved. No one has the right to be selected for any particular job.

Not even old white guys.

In a free society, business owners have the right to refuse to hire anyone for any reason and on any basis.

In a free society, businesses are able to discriminate against potential employees just as potential employees can now legally discriminate against businesses.

In a free society, those who object to a company’s hiring practices can seek employment elsewhere, protest the company’s policies, boycott the company, and try to persuade others to do likewise.

In a free society, no one has any legal recourse if a business refuses to hire him.

In a free society, there is no EEOC, there are no anti-discrimination laws, and the right to discriminate is essential and absolute.