California moving company that touts its young, fit employees sued by government for age discrimination: 'No idea we did anything wrong'

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Published December 9, 2023, 10:03 PM ET

A California-based moving company that boasts of its young, athletic employees is being sued by the federal government for age discrimination.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against Meathead Movers for violating age discrimination law by not hiring enough older workers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Since its founding in 1997, the Fresno-based company’s mission has been to recruit student-athletes. His social media posts show his youthful, muscular employees lifting weights and box lifting.

The employees, known as “Meatheads,” compete each year in the Meathead Olympics, racing to assemble boxes and jump over them.

According to the Journal, moves require workers to run from the moving truck to the house empty-handed.

The company states on its website that its “fundamental principle is to support athletes pursuing their dream career path, and that will never change.”

California-based Meathead Movers is being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for age discrimination in its recruiting and hiring practices. Meathead movers “Meatheads” have to run from the moving truck to the house empty-handed. Meathead movers

Executives at Meathead Movers deny they are discriminating against older workers, claiming the job is simply too demanding for those who are not in top shape.

“We are 100% open to hiring anyone of any age if they can do the job,” company owner Aaron Steed told the Journal. “People either love working at Meathead or are put off by how hard it is. You have to move furniture and run to get more.”

The EEOC, chaired by Charlotte Burrows, alleges that Meathead Movers’ marketing and hiring practices discourage older workers from applying, WSJ reported. Current employees are asked to look for new potential employees at local gyms and colleges, the agency said.

The agency told the Medium that discouragement bias can be present in job advertisements, marketing materials and intrusive interview questions, such as asking about a student’s schedule.

EEOC has been investigating the company on its own since 2017 and, unlike most of its investigations, did not respond to a complaint. According to the newspaper, last year it received more than 70,000 complaints and filed 91 lawsuits alleging employment discrimination.

Social media posts show Meathead Movers employees training before bringing customers into their homes. Meathead Movers The EEOC began investigating the Fresno, California-based company in 2017. Meathead Movers

The two sides tried to negotiate a settlement, with the agency asking for $15 million but then lowering that to about $5 million, according to internal emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Meathead countered with a settlement offer of $750,000. The EEOC filed the lawsuit in September.

“We had no idea we were doing anything wrong when we were a moving company that hired a lot of student-athletes,” Steed told WSJ.

“We want to change and evolve, but we can’t agree to go out of business if we do.”

Burrows was appointed by President Biden to chair the EEOC. Since Democrats took control of the agency in August, commissioners have voted seven times on age discrimination issues. Before that, they only voted on age issues three times this year.

She has vowed to enforce age discrimination laws related to age bias, as nearly a quarter of the country’s workforce is 55 and older, and the agency appears to aggressively pursue age discrimination cases.

According to the Labor Department, the number of seniors over 65 in the workforce will increase by a third over the next 10 years.

The Post has reached out to the EEOC for comment on the lawsuit.

Advocates for older Americans praised the agency, which addresses age discrimination.

“Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is over 50. I’m pretty sure he would be good at moving boxes,” Bill Alvarado told Rivera, senior vice president of litigation at AARP, an elder rights group the journal.

“This type of stereotype about who might be a good doer has no place in an economy that values ​​the individual.”

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