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Google faces age discrimination class action

Earlier this month, a 64-year-old tech worker, Robert Heath, filed an age discrimination lawsuit against Google. In the lawsuit, filed in California, Heath claims that Google refused to hire him because of his age. The attorneys who filed the lawsuit seek to represent a class of older workers as well.

Heath has a college degree in computer science and has worked for IBM, Compaq, and General Dynamics. He claims that, after he applied for a programmer position, he received an email from a Google recruiter who said that, with his experience, Heath would be a “great candidate” to work for Google. However, when it came time for Heath’s interview, which Google conducted over the phone, the interviewer was ten minutes late, refused to take his phone off speakerphone so that he could better communicate with Heath, and was barely fluent in English. After the interview, Heath did not get the job.

Heath’s lawsuit cites statistics to support his claim of age discrimination based on data obtained from Payscale.com. 840 Google employees self-reported their ages to Payscale.com and, according to that data, the median age of Google employees in 2013 was 29. The median age for all computer programmers in the United States is 43.

This is not the first high profile age discrimination lawsuit that Google has faced. A former Google executive, Brian Reid, settled his age discrimination lawsuit in 2007. In that lawsuit, Reid claimed that people at Google called him an “old fuddy duddy” and said his ideas were “too old to matter.” Heath’s lawsuit relies, in part, on the evidence from Reid’s lawsuit.

“The disproportionately low number of older workers and the history of discriminatory remarks at Google provide significant evidence of age discrimination, and we’re hopeful that this lawsuit will help end discriminatory practices at Google and deter discrimination in the industry,” said one of Heath’s lawyers, Daniel Low.