The recent settlement Google reached for an age discrimination lawsuit included wide range change in the company’s HR practices – particularly their recruiting practices and employee surveys. This lawsuit was different than others with similar claims due to the management changes the plaintiffs demanded. It is a good example of the potential impact discrimination lawsuits can have on hiring and firing.
The original complaint was filed in 2015. The Google age discrimination lawsuit alleged that the median age for U.S. workers is 42, but that Google’s median employee age is 29. The suit further claimed that Google favored job applicants under 40 in their hiring process. The lead plaintiff in the case was Cheryl Fillekes, who has a Ph.D. in geophysics. She was invited to four separate job interviews with Google from the age of 47+, but she was never hired. She claimed it was due to age discrimination and filed a complaint in federal court in California.
The age discrimination class action case was settled in federal court for $11 million. Over 200 parties were involved. As a result of this case, Google was required to train their employees and managers regarding age-based bias. They also had to create a subcommittee for their recruiting operations that focused solely on age diversity in their engineering departments. Google will need to make sure that their marketing reflects age diversity, and that employees leaving the company are surveyed about any possible discrimination.
The plaintiffs in the case hope that the training and survey requirements included in the settlement raise awareness of the issue of age discrimination as well as help to decrease bias against older, highly experienced tech professionals who struggle to find employment. The purpose of the subcommittee is to make sure the hiring process is not structured to discriminate against older applicants and the increased diversity in marketing materials is intended to encourage a more diverse group of applicants.
If you have experienced age discrimination during the hiring process or in the workplace, please get in touch with the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP so we can help.