U.S. District Judge Beth Freeman recently refused to dismiss a class-action age discrimination lawsuit against Google, giving the plaintiff a chance to prove her claims and expand the list of people eligible for compensation if she wins.
Cheryl Fillekes filed an age discrimination lawsuit against the tech company in 2015, after four failed interviews at Google. To support her claim, Ms. Fillekes submitted the affidavits of seven other people of a similar age who were also refused employment and cited statistics that while the average worker is 42, the average Google worker is 29. Ms. Fillekes also says that a recruiter told her to delete her graduation dates from her resume so the Google interviewers could not readily ascertain her age.
For its part, Google insists that the action is groundless and cited its policy that the company does not tolerate age discrimination, but Judge Freeman refused to dismiss the action on that basis, noting that almost all employers make similar policy statements and they are not evidence of nondiscrimination.
The age discrimination lawsuit is a two-part class action, meaning that Ms. Fillekes must get past a motion to decertify the class before the case can fully move forward. In a more plaintiff-friendly ruling, Judge Freeman ordered Google to compile a list of all over-40 software engineers who had interviewed with the firm and not been hired.
A History of Age Discrimination in Silicon Valley
Google isn't the only Silicon Valley tech company that has faced allegations of age discrimination. Since 2008, workers have filed over 225 age discrimination complaints against top Silicon Valley companies with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Several years ago, Facebook wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg even told a Stanford audience that "Young people are just smarter."
Some believe that age discrimination may start even before the applicants send in their resumes. Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently took action against advertisements calling for only "recent college graduates" to apply (some advertisements even specified the class year, e.g. 2011 or 2014), ads targeted to "digital natives" are still technically legal.
Google Age Discrimination Lawsuit: For Further Reading
- EEOC Investigating Google for Age Discrimination in the Workplace
- Google Just Suffered a Setback in This Age Discrimination Case via Fortune
- Google suffers blow as age discrimination suit clears hurdle via Silicon Beat
- Judge Allows Age Bias Suit Against Google via Insurance Journal
Age discrimination is unlawful under both California and Federal employment laws. If you feel that you have been subjected to age discrimination by your employer or a prospective employer in California, you may be able to file an age discrimination lawsuit. Contact our expert California employment lawyers at Hennig Ruiz for a free consultation today.