The case is being bought against Google by Robert Heath, a software engineer, who was 60 when he applied in 2011 for a job at Google.
According to ComputerWorld he wasn’t hired despite having “highly-pertinent qualifications and experience,” and being deemed by a Google recruiter as a “great candidate,” according to Heath’s lawsuit.
In a statement, Google’s response to the lawsuit was: “We believe that the facts will show that this case is without merit and we intend to defend ourselves vigorously.”
Heath’s case is about some pretty specific age data. Between 2007 and 2013, Google’s workforce grew from 9,500 to more than 28,000 employees, “yet as of 2013, its employees’ median age was 29 years old,” the lawsuit claims.
In other companies the median age of nearly 43 for all US workers who are computer programmers, according to the lawsuit.
Heath was contacted by a recruiter with Google’s engineering staff. The company was looking for candidates with experience in C/C++ and Java. “After reviewing your experience, I thought you would be a great candidate to come work at Google and add value,” wrote the Google recruiter to Heath.
But a phone interview did not go well as Heath and the interviewer had difficulty understanding each other. One part of the interview involved writing a short program to find the answer to a problem posed by the interviewer. Heath accomplished the task and offered to share it via Google Docs or email, but, instead, the interviewer required Heath “to read the program coding over the phone”.
Heath was not offered the job.
Heath, who lives in Boynton Beach, Fla., has a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and has worked for IBM, Compaq and General Dynamics. He also has a master certification in Java, which he achieved with a certification test score “higher than 96% of all previous test takers,” according to the lawsuit.