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Plaintiff seeks to tap over-40 crowd in Google age bias case

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A plaintiff in an age discrimination lawsuit against Google Inc. is seeking the court's permission to reach out to other potential plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit.

Cheryl Fillekes is asking the U.S. District Court in San Jose, California, to order Google to provide the names and contact information of other failed job applicants who are more than 40 years old, according to Robert Heath and Cheryl Fillekes v. Google Inc.

The original complaint in the case was filed by co-plaintiff Robert Heath in April 2015, and Ms. Fillekes and Mr. Heath filed an amended joint complaint in June 2015.

The most recent filing says Google should be ordered to provide within 15 days the names and contact information for every applicant interviewed for three engineering positions who was at least 40 years old at the time of their application during the time period from Aug. 13, 2010, through the present. The applicants would “opt in” as plaintiffs if they so desired.

Ms. Fillekes says in support of her “motion for conditional certification of collective action,” which is essentially a class action, that the “class is objectively defined in a way that allows class members to easily determine whether they are part of the class.”

Ms. Fillekes charges Google has “engaged in a systematic pattern and practice of discriminating against individuals” who are older than 40. The filing states that in comparison to the 29-year old median age of Google's workforce, the median age in the United States for a computer programmer is 42.8 years old, and for computer hardware engineers is 41.7 years old.

The filing says Ms. Fillekes, whose age is not explicitly stated in court papers, has a doctorate in computational geophysics, and more than 40 years of programming experience. It said she has been rejected for four different openings at Google.

On one of these occasions, according to the court filing, she was told to put her dates of graduation on her resume ”so the interviewers can see how old you are.”

A trial is scheduled for May 2017.

On Thursday, Google released data on its 2-year-old initiative to create a more diverse U.S. workforce, saying it had more black, Latino and female employees but still lagged on its goal of mirroring the population.

A Google spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.