After the jury failed to reach a unanimous decision, U.S. District Judge Denise Casper declared a mistrial in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s discrimination case against Texas Roadhouse.
The jury started deliberating Monday afternoon and three times told the judge that they could not reach a unanimous agreement, according to a report by Law360.
The judge is setting a date for retrial in front of a different jury. A spokesman for the EEOC said in an email: “We are disappointed that the jury remained deadlocked and that a mistrial was declared today. Nevertheless, we fully believe in our case, and intend to try this matter again starting on the new trial date just set by Judge Casper, May 15, 2017.”
In an emailed comment to IL, Louisville-based Texas Roadhouse stated: “While Texas Roadhouse supports the EEOC’s mission, we believe its case against us was misguided and built on faulty statistics, which was why we chose to litigate this case. We appreciate the jury’s time and attention the past four weeks. We plan to continue to defend our brand.”
Texas Roadhouse stock is up more than 1 percent for the day, coming in at $46.08 as of 3 p.m. Friday.
The EEOC brought a lawsuit against the Louisville steakhouse chain in 2011 saying that it discriminated against job applicants who are 40 or older. Texas Roadhouse decided to fight the EEOC’s accusations, asserting it was not guilty of systematic discrimination.
The company did note that many of its employees are younger but attributed that to low unemployment and to older individuals seeking jobs that pay more than Texas Roadhouse’s front-of-house positions.
Something unique about the EEOC’s case against Texas Roadhouse is that it did not originate because of an employee or consumer complaint. Typically, the EEOC gets involved in discrimination lawsuits in response to complaints it receives.
Had the jury ruled in favor of the EEOC it would have set a precedent for the organization to file similar lawsuits against other companies without first receiving outside complaints.
Law360 noted that President Donald J. Trump has nominated Andrew Puzder, CEO of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s parent company, to lead the U.S. Department of Labor. If Puzder is confirmed, he could change the federal government’s enforcement priorities, including how it pursues discrimination cases.