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Enterprise Rent-A-Car's Florida branch faces age discrimination suit

Reporter: Sun-sentinel

 Enterprise Rent-A-Car's Florida branch faces age discrimination suit

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The Florida arm of Enterprise Rent-A-Car has been accused by the federal government of excluding older workers from its management training program. In a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Miami, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Enterprise Leasing Company of Florida’s hiring practices since January 2019 resulted in a “significantly significant” difference between the number of applicants hired under age 40 and the number hired at ages 40 and over. The lawsuit is the latest in a series of discrimination complaints against the company since 2000 by the federal government. Enterprise Leasing Company of Florida is headquartered in Coconut Creek, according to the Florida Division of Corporations’ website. The company is a division of St.

Louis, Missouri-based Enterprise Holdings, which operates the Enterprise, National and Alamo car rental agencies. “Throughout its standard hiring process, Enterprise Florida intentionally under-hires applicants protected by the (Age Discrimination in Employment Act) for management training positions based on their age,” the complaint says. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibits discrimination against workers age 40 and older. In August 2019, Enterprise Florida employed 486 management trainees but only 11 were age 40 or older, the suit states.

Of 332 management trainees employed in October 2020, only six were over 40, according to the suit. Enterprise Holdings, in response to the lawsuit, issued this statement: “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.” Prior to filing the lawsuit, EEOC representatives attempted to eliminate the unlawful employment practices “through informal methods of conciliation, conference and persuasion,” the suit states. The lawsuit resulted from a complaint filed by “at least one charging party” more than 30 days before it was filed, the complaint states. The EEOC’s complaint says that Enterprise Florida recruits applicants for management trainee positions through job sites, referrals from current employees and college job fairs.

In initial interviews, members of the company’s talent acquisition personnel ask questions “geared toward younger candidates,” including: I see you graduated from (college) with a degree in (major); why did you decide to pursue that major? What did you think you were going to do with that major? Did you work while you were at school? During the academic school year? How many hours a week did you work while at school? Were you involved in any extracurricular activities? Any clubs or organizations? Looking back at your college experience, if there was something you could have done differently, what would it have been? The lawsuit seeks a court order compelling Enterprise Florida to create hiring policies that will provide equal employment opportunities for older applicants and eradicate effects of its “past unlawful discrimination practices.” It also seeks back wages, damages, and interest for workers whose wages were unlawfully withheld, including workers not hired because of their age. Enterprise Holdings has faced discrimination complaints by the federal government several times in recent years. In 2015, the company’s Los Angeles branch agreed to pay $425,000 to settle an EEOC lawsuit charging that the company failed to hire anyone over 40 between 2008 and 2011. In 2019, Enterprise Rent-A-Car of Baltimore was ordered to pay $6.6 million in back wages and benefits to resolve a Department of Labor charge that 2,336 Black candidates were passed over for the company’s management trainee program between 2007 and 2018. In 2002, the Florida branch settled an EEOC lawsuit filed in 2000 on behalf of a Black worker who claimed the company refused to promote him because of his race.

The settlement called for the company to revamp its promotion practices and file reports to the EEOC every six months for three years. Ron Hurtibise covers business and consumer issues for the South Florida Sun Sentinel. He can be reached by phone at 954-356-4071, on Twitter @ronhurtibise or by email at

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