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Google Pays for Age Discrimination, Again

In 2010, Google settled an age discrimination lawsuit filed by a then 52-year-old Brian Reid. He had received an excellent performance rating but did not fit into Google’s “culture.” He was replaced with significantly younger workers and received comments from co-workers about his age throughout his tenure at the company. His supervisor commented that “Google is simply different: Younger contributors, inexperienced first line managers, and super fast pace are just a few examples of the environment.” That case settled. In 2014, Google began publishing statistics on the diversity of its workforce but age is not included in those numbers.

According to current reports, 2019 has brought bigger claims of age discrimination against Google. The tech company was accused of engaging in systemic age discrimination in hiring; 227 plaintiffs in the lawsuit will collect an average of $35,000, totaling approximately $11 million. The initial lawsuit was filed by a software engineer named Cheryl Fillekes who was interviewed four times by Google for positions within the company; she never received a job offer. She was 47 years old.

Forbes reports that the median age of Google employees in 2017 was 30, which is a decade younger than the median employee age of U.S. workers. Google argued that Fillekes did not have the technical aptitude for the positions but the court allowed the case to go forward and granted her motion to create a class action. In the settlement, the company has also agreed to train employees and managers on age bias as well as create a committee with a focus on age diversity in recruiting and making sure that complaints are appropriately investigated.