Bowlero could pay out $60 million over age discrimination claims
Popular bowling company Bowlero is under a federal investigation for alleged age discrimination and retaliation.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has proposed a $60 million settlement for dozens of discrimination claims against the company.
It was initially suggested in January 2021 but failed to reach an agreement in April.
The EEOC’s investigation has been ongoing since 2016, and it involves at least 73 former employees who claimed they were fired based on their age or out of retaliation.
The agency has determined the firm has been engaging in a “pattern or practice” of age discrimination since at least 2013, which the company denies.
Bowlero CEO Thomas Shannon is accused of conducting “beauty contests” with prospective hires over brief video calls to evaluate candidates’ appearance as part of the hiring process.
Shannon allegedly screened candidates for lower-level, customer-facing roles and directed staff to replace aging employees with younger and more attractive candidates.
These allegations sparked the larger investigation into age discrimination.
Bowlero, the world’s largest owner and operator of bowling centers, has repeatedly denied allegations of discrimination and other wrongdoing.
However, the EEOC has found reasonable cause in 55 cases and is investigating the other 18 claims.
The commissioners must vote before the agency can sue Bowlero in federal court.
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The company could face even steeper fines if the EEOC sues and prevails in court.
Experts warn that the settlement proposal is significant, and if the EEOC decides to sue, it could set a precedent for future cases.
The case highlights the importance of addressing age discrimination in the workplace, and companies need to take proactive measures to prevent discrimination and retaliation.
Bowlero’s attorneys refute the allegations as baseless and deny any wrongdoing on the company’s behalf.
They said: ““This is a meritless claim.
”Defamatory statements about Mr. Shannon will not be taken lightly.”