Bowlero, the world’s largest operator of bowling alleys, finds itself in the gutter after dozens of former employees made age discrimination and retaliation claims.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has proposed a $60 million settlement with the company, according to CNBC.
More than 70 former employees claimed they were fired based on their age or out of retaliation while working at Bowlero — which topped $1 billion in annual revenue and scored a record-breaking $273.4 million in sales for Q2 2023.
About 30 million people per year visit Bowlero’s 325-plus facilities in North America, but its stock has dropped roughly 9% since Thursday’s CNBC report.
CEO Thomas Shannon has been accused of hosting “obvious beauty contests” with prospective hires, using video calls to evaluate a candidate’s appearance. The EEOC’s probe into Bowlero has been ongoing since 2016.
“It was well-known within the company that motherhood is the end of your career at the company if you work for Shannon,” a former human resources employee for Bowlero reportedly told the EEOC.
In 2021, Bowlero went public through a SPAC merger with Isos Acquisition Corporation that valued the new company at $2.6 billion. The company’s breakthrough came in 2013, when Bowlero went from running six bowling alleys to 272 through its acquisition of AMF, at the time the world’s largest operator of bowling alleys.
If the $60 million settlement isn’t accepted, the EEOC’s commissioners will vote to decide whether to sue Bowlero in federal court.