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New York Employment Law Blog

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Google Facing Age Discrimination Probe

Is age discrimination a serious problem in the tech sector?

The tech sector is known for its innovative entrepreneurs that have changed the contemporary business landscape and reshaped traditional notions of corporate culture. At the same time much of the work force is comprised of workers under 40 years of age and some observers argue that there is widespread age discrimination in the industry.

Now, a federal lawsuit has revealed that the search engine giant Google is under investigation for alleged age discrimination by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In a recent filing, a plaintiff accused Google of stonewalling the probe by the federal agency.

The plaintiff is a systems engineer who was interviewed on a number of occasions between 2007 and 2014. At the time of her first interview she was 47 years old, and was never offered a position. She joined a lawsuit filed by a seasoned software engineer who Google invited to interview in 2011 when he was 60. The plaintiffs have filed separate motions to have the suits certified as class actions that would those who are 40 and above and did not get hired or have an in-person interview for software, systems or site reliability engineering jobs at Google from August 2010 to the present.

Some observers contend that age discrimination in the tech sector may be more blatant than gender- or race-based bias, and that age  discrimination often occurs because of the perception that only workers of certain ages have the necessary skills. Moreover, the bottom line is costs: younger workers can perform the same roles as more seasoned workers, but for far less money.

While Google has not commented on the lawsuit because the company  doesn't discuss pending litigation, its answer to the complaint said the company's actions were not motivated by age, but by other "reasonable factors." The EEOC is also barred by law from confirming or discussing investigations.

Whether the plaintiffs will prevail in their age discrimination claims remains to be seen. Nonetheless, workers are protected from age discrimination by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), a federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against any employee or job candidate on the basis of age (40 or older). If you believe you have been the victim of age discrimination or your business is facing charges of employment bias, you should engage the services of an experienced employment attorney.


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