The head plaintiff in the case, first filed in 2015, was a 60-something man who says he was deemed a “great candidate” by a Google recruiter. The lawsuit said that in 2013, the median age of Google employees was 29, whereas the typical computer programmer in the US is over 40, according to several different measures.
During the interview process, Plaintiff received a technical phone interview with a Google engineer. Plaintiff alleged that the engineer had a heavy accent, a problem made worse by the engineer’s insistence on using a speakerphone. When Plaintiff was working through a technical problem, he asked if he could share his code using a Google Doc. The interviewer refused, Plaintiff alleged. Instead, Plaintiff had to read code snippets over the phone—an inherently error-prone process, Plaintiff argued that the interview process “reflected a complete disregard for older workers who are undeniably more susceptible to hearing loss.”
Plaintiff and Google settled their claims in December, but the larger class-action lawsuit went forward with another lead plaintiff—who is in her early 50s and joined the case in 2016. She says she interviewed for engineering jobs at Google four times but was never offered a position.
During one interview process, Plaintiff says, a recruiter asked her to submit an updated résumé that showed her graduation dates for college and graduate degrees. When the Plaintiff asked why this was required, she says the recruiter responded that it was “so the interviewers can see how old you are.”
Of the $11 million payout in the settlement, $2.75 million will go to lawyers representing the class. As reported by Bloomberg. The second plaintiff will get an extra $10,000 as the lead plaintiff. The remaining cash works out to around $35,000 per plaintiff.
Google has also promised to step up its efforts against age discrimination, providing training to managers and creating a new committee to address age discrimination issues. Google is settling the case without admitting that it has done anything wrong.