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Age Discrimination Costs Google $15.9 Million

Age discrimination costs Google $15.9 million

Google is set to pay $A15.9 million compensation to 227 people who were denied jobs with the tech giant because they were too old.

In addition to the payouts, Google has also promised to provide training for its managers, and will set up a special working group to address issues of age discrimination.

The lead plaintiff

Lead plaintiff Cheryl Fillekes, who is aged in her 50s, said she applied four times for an engineering job at Google, but was never offered a position.

During one of the interviews, a recruiter asked Ms Fillekes to submit an updated resume that showed her graduation dates for college and her various degrees.

When she asked why this was needed, she says the recruiter told her that it was “so the interviewers can see how old you are.”

Ms Fillekes experience followed that of Robert Heath, a computer engineer in his 60s.

During the interview process, Mr Heath received a technical phone interview with a Google engineer.

He claimed that the engineer had a heavy accent, and was difficult to hear and understand – a problem made worse by the engineer’s insistence on using a speakerphone.

Mr Heath argued that the interview process “reflected a complete disregard for older workers who are undeniably more susceptible to hearing loss.”

Median age of a Google employee in 2013 was 29

According to the lawsuit, the median age of a Google employee in 2013 was 29, compared to a typical computer programmer in the US, who is aged over 40.

Of the $A15.9 million payout in the settlement, $3.9 million will go to lawyers.

Ms Fillekes gets an extra $A14,500 as the lead plaintiff.

The remaining plaintiffs will each receive around $A50,600.

Mr Heath settled his case separately with Google in December.

Age discrimination unlawful in Australia

Age discrimination is unlawful in Australia, according to Miles Heffernan, Litigation Director at Harassment Claims.

“An employer is not allowed to ask a prospective employee their age during the interview process, unless the worker’s age is an inherent requirement of the job,” he said.

“For example, a person under the age of 18 may not be permitted to serve alcohol in a pub, but those sorts of situations are rare.

“Workers should not be thrown on the scrap heap just because they’ve had a certain number of birthdays – both young and older people can add tremendous value to a company, whether that be with enthusiasm or experience.”

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If you have experienced discrimination based on your age, you may be entitled to compensation.

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