By David J. Neal
On September 18, 2023
The oldest Millennials and all Generation Xers weren’t welcome in a rental car company’s management training program, according to a Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit filed in Fort Lauderdale federal court. That rental car company is Enterprise Leasing Company of Florida, the arm of Enterprise Holdings that operates National, Alamo, National and Enterprise car rental companies throughout Florida.
A statement from Enterprise Holdings emailed to the Miami Herald on Monday countered: “Enterprise Holdings seeks and values people of all backgrounds and does not tolerate discrimination in any way. We’re disappointed in the lawsuit filed and will vigorously defend ourselves against these allegations, which we feel are meritless.”
Enterprise Florida “violated federal law by intentionally failing to hire older workers based on their age for management trainee positions from January 2019 to present,” the EEOC said in claiming those 40 and over were discriminated against.
The lawsuit, filed in Fort Lauderdale because Enterprise Leasing is based in Coconut Creek, says “interview questions for management trainees are geared towards younger candidates” and included questions about the applicant’s college major choice, college clubs and extracurricular activities and other questions about an existence that’s two decades in the past for middle-aged applicants.
The lawsuit says Enterprise Florida claimed to measure applicants based on “customer service orientation; sales orientation; communication; leadership; flexibility and work ethic.” But those 40 and up “are selected at a much lower rate than applicants under 40 and the difference is statistically significant.”
The lawsuit says of the 486 management trainees in August 2019, only 11 or 2.3% were 40 or older. In October 2020, the lawsuit says, only six of 326 management trainees, 1.8%, had seen their 40th birthday.
As for punitive action desired, the EEOC has asked the court to order Enterprise Florida to institute a non-discriminatory policy and make whole via back wages and/or instatement into the management training program older applicants the suit claims were victimized.
This piece was republished from the Miami Herald.