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."
A 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.