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Age discrimination in the tech industry

A hearing in a California federal district court on July 26 regarding a class action age discrimination lawsuit against Google revealed that 269 plaintiffs have joined the lawsuit. Software engineers aged 40 and over are alleging that they were not hired by the company because of their age. One reported that a recruiter told her to include graduation dates on her resume so Google would know her age and that she was subsequently not hired as a result.

Surveys have found that age discrimination against older workers is a particular problem in the tech industry. One recruitment platform said that tech workers 45 and older reported salaries plateauing and job offers dropping off. The AARP conducted a survey in 2013 and found that more than 60 percent of older tech workers said they had witnessed or experienced workplace age discrimination.

Google settled a 2004 age discrimination lawsuit out of court for an undisclosed amount, and employees sued Hewlett-Packard in 2016 claiming the company made an effort to skew younger. Facebook and Google had a median employee age of 29 in 2016. There are also reports that older workers are spoken of disparagingly in tech companies.

Most workers who are 40 and older are covered by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, although companies with fewer than 20 employees are exempt. A workplace may have a procedure in place to deal with reports of discrimination, but an employee facing harassment or discrimination still may want to speak to an attorney. Sometimes these procedures are ineffective, or an employee might face retaliation for reporting discrimination.

Source: Silicon Valley Business Journal, "Here's how big the age discrimination lawsuit against Google is," Jennifer Elias, August 2, 2017

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