Finally, now even “old white guys” can feel like victims.
I know. I know. We’re usually the perps.
But this week, the Florida-based parent company that operates Seasons 52 restaurants has agreed to pay $2.85 million to settle a complaint by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of 254 job applicants who alleged that the chain used a centralized hiring process to weed out older job applicants.
“The EEOC asserts, for instance, that (Seasons 52) hiring officials have told unsuccessful applicants in the protected age group that ‘you are too experienced’; ‘we are looking for people with less experience’; ‘we are not looking for old white guys’; ‘we are looking for ‘fresh’ employees’; and that Seasons 52 wanted a ‘youthful’ image,” the lawsuit alleges.
The company, Darden Restaurants — which is run by a bald 57-year-old white guy CEO who doesn’t appear to have a fresh youthful image — settled the complaint without admitting blame.
But we old white guys have to take victories wherever we can get one.
Yes, despite that boyish photo that accompanies my column, I am an old white guy. And I’ll admit, as a group, we old white guys have screwed up a lot of things in America.
We are disproportionately to blame for everything from avoidable condominium disputes to President Donald Trump to the majority of creepy flirtations directed at younger diner waitresses, whom we sometimes refer to as “honey babe,” “doll face” or “sugar britches.”
And it’s frequently brought up that we are the problem in a patriarchal society that pays women less for equal work, systematically discriminates against minorities and hands too many of us old white guys the levers of power in government and the corporate boardroom.
Fortunately for me, there can never be too many old-white-guy newspaper columnists. That’s just the way it is.
We’re a national treasure when it comes to punditry. After all, would you want to read a columnist who is too young to even know the comedic potential of a “Harold Stassen” reference? Of course not.
But I could see why the restaurant chain might want to have younger servers. Old white guys tend to have lots of dietary restrictions put on them by their old white women. And that could adversely affect a customer’s dining experience.
“So you want to know what’s good for dessert?” I might respond while clearing away the plates from the main course. “Nothing that’s good for you, that’s for sure.”
Then I might furtively look around to make sure the manager isn’t within earshot.
“Sugar and white flour are killers. Trust me,” I’d continue. “If you need something sweet, go home and eat a mandarin orange, then mix yourself some psyllium husks in a big glass of water and gulp it down. You’ll thank me in the morning.”
Not good for business. Especially once I start sharing my latest blood-work results with the table.
“Got to keep an eye on those triglycerides,” I might say. “Cappuccino, anyone?”
To me, the most disturbing part of the EEOC lawsuit was that an “old” employee was defined as somebody who is 40 and older.
Seriously? Mick Jagger has two children older than 40 years old.
If 40 years old is “old,” then Jared Kushner will be an old white guy in less than three years from now, and Donnie Wahlberg, one of the founding members of the boy band New Kids on the Block has been an old white guy for nine years already.
That’s more like a New Kidney on the Block.
But like I said, we shouldn’t complain. We old white guys can’t afford to squander this rare opportunity for victim-hood.