Google in ageist hot water

oldguyA US judge has ruled that other software engineers over age 40 who were interviewed by Google but didn’t get hired can step forward and join the lawsuit.

Two job applicants, both over the age of 40, were interviewed by Google but weren’t offered jobs.

The judge turning the suit into a “collective action” means that people who “interviewed in person with Google for a software engineer, site reliability engineer, or systems engineer position when they were 40 years old or older, and received notice on or after August 28, 2014, that they were refused employment, will have an opportunity to join in.

Google says it’s fighting the suit. A spokesperson told Rueters, “We believe the allegations here are without merit and we will continue to defend our position vigorously. We have strong policies against discrimination on any unlawful basis, including age.”

However the  judge has warned that Google’s defence of having anti-agist “policies” is not going to cut it:

“Having such a policy does not necessarily shield a company from a discrimination suit, particularly in light of the evidence and allegations presented here … today, most, if not all, companies are well versed in anti-discrimination and make great efforts to ensure their written policies comply with anti-discrimination law.”

One of the plaintiffs alleged that a Google recruiter told her she needed to puts the dates of her graduation on her resume so interviewers could determine her age. That same plaintiff argued that she had found seven others who say they had similar experiences at Google. She also presented evidence to the court that the median age of Google’s workforce is 29 while the median age in the US for programmers is 42.8 years old.

Google has previous form for agism. It was sued in 2004 for age discrimination and, after winding through the appeals system, the case was ultimately settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.