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California Court to Hear Google Age Discrimination Case

February 4, 2008
Related Topics: Discrimination and EEOC Compliance, Workforce Planning, Latest News
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The California Supreme Court has agreed to hear an age discrimination lawsuit filed against Google by a former manager of the company. The suit, filed by Brian Reid in 2004, was dismissed by a lower court before being reinstated on appeal in October.

Reid, now 58, claims that younger fellow Google staffers routinely referred to him as “old man” and “fuddy-duddy.” He also contends that he was fired because of his age. Google has stated that Reid’s job was terminated because the in-house graduate degree program he worked on was discontinued by the company.

Google, like many businesses in the technology sector, has a young workforce. According to data collected by Reid and submitted in his lawsuit, just 2 percent of Google’s approximately 1,900 employees in 2004 were over 40. The average age of male Google employees at the time was 29.7 years old; female Google workers averaged 28.4 years old.

Reid’s lawyers contend he never received a negative performance review and was fired, at least in part, to prevent him from benefiting from the company’s initial public offering.

Google announced its IPO nine days after Reid was let go.

The decision by the California Supreme Court to hear the case is likely a good sign for Google, said David Greenberg, an employment lawyer based in Los Angeles.

“It usually suggests that either they don’t agree with the lower court decision or that there are conflicting decisions in the lower courts,” he said.

On the other hand, if the court decides to let the case go to trial, it may encourage other filings of age discrimination cases against Silicon Valley companies.

The court, which did not disclose its reasons for putting the case on its docket, is expected to hear arguments within the next three months.

Filed by Andrew Osterland of Financial Week, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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