Google Age Discrimination Suit Allowed To Proceed

Harsh-sounding "stray remarks" cleared for trial

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An age discrimination lawsuit filed against Google will be allowed to proceed.  Yesterday, the California Supreme Court ruled that certain "stray remarks" can’t be ignored, meaning former Google employee Brian Reid can take the search giant to trial.

Reid, who was 54 at the time of his firing in 2004, was sacked after various coworkers allegedly described him as "obsolete," "too old to matter," and an "old fuddy-duddy," among other things.  He filed a lawsuit as a result, but since those remarks came from people outside the decision-making process, a trial court dismissed it.

Now the comments are back in play, and Reid will have a chance to seek "injunctive relief, disgorgement of profits, restitution of lost stock, options, and attorney fees and costs."

GoogleA loss here would obviously be bad for Google in a financial sense.  Reid was director of operations and engineering when he left, so tens of millions of dollars, and not just a few bucks, are at stake.

But the lawsuit could create problems for the company, regardless.  Google’s long been rather secretive about the makeup of its workforce, even fighting a newspaper for the sake of not sharing information about race and gender, and it’s possible some suspicious details will come to light.

Plus, every lawsuit has the potential to hurt a company’s image since accusations can be hard to forget.

Google Age Discrimination Suit Allowed To Proceed
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  • http://www.twochaps.com Guest

    Age discrimination laws in this country never made sense to me. You can’t fire someone or refuse to hire them because their old, but you can discriminate against applicants openly if they’re too young. A lot of companies try to hire silver haired executives simply because they look distinguished and they think that will help then recruit investors as they parade them through their office. Why can’t a company do the opposite?

  • Reader

    Most companies do not look at older workers as what they are, valuable individual contributors with real-world, relevant experience. There is a reason why only 10% of the high tech workforce is over 50 years of age. It’s because of a very real and unfair prejudice called “Age Discrimination”.

    Many successful organizations WILL hire people for their experience and not for the perceived coolness of youth. It’s obvious by the numbers, however, that most do not.

    Funny how many years of experience is valued in politics (just look at all of the older politicians) and frowned upon in such companies.

  • http://www.asian-dove.com Wesley Roettger Se.

    I think a close look at google and the google way of doing business. Is something that should have happened a long time ago. We should also look at how they decide who to index. Some people have no problem getting google to index there site, I have submited my web site to google many times over a year and still my site http://www.asian-dove.com has not been indexed

  • http://www.legalmatch.com/ Jare

    There are many steps that employers can take to minimize the impact of stray remarks in the workplace. This may include removing persons who made remarks from decision-making positions. See also: http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2010/09/10/minimizing-liability-under-the-stray-remarks-doctrine/

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