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Google Hit With Age Discrimination Suit

Updated on August 6, 2010

 The beloved Google corporation, founded by two under 35yr-olds, that blossomed into an international mega business and sought by many for business and employment has its first age discrimination lawsuit in California.

Call it a warning shot for many young start-ups, or recent corporations that have suddenly grown. If you are under 45 yrs., you may not have had the gut feeling after an interview that you will not get the gig because of your age. It can happen and does happen often almost invisibly. Your first indication may be that has you walk through a company on a tour, you see few or none around your age. This is very apparent if you are 50 or more. The second clue is that your interviewers are all under 35 yrs, maybe young enough to be your adult kids. More clues may come out in the interview, a gut feeling that the company is youth oriented and culture (meaning, under 35 yrs). Of course, if you ace the interview and it seems like the interviewers want you and yet, you get the rejection with the excuse of: "we did not think it was a perfect fit", or, " we did not think it was a good cultural fit", or, " we went with another candidate because they were a better fit", all this points to the invisible age discrimination technique employers use. Of course, even if your resume is ageless (no dates on education), the HR people can easily find out the ages of candidates long before the interview and not even call you for an interview.

So, at Google, a 54 yr old man filed an age discrimination lawsuit (54 is NOT old). The guy had worked there years as a manager. His co-workers jokingly called him an "old man", a " fuddy-duddy". His superiors, all young enough to be his adult kids maybe, told him that he was a "bad cultural fit" (ie, too old for this youth company). Brian Reid was fired in 2004 for no real reason. The Calfornia Supreme Court has told Google, it must allow a jury to decide in trial if the age related remarks made to him should be compensated for. Google tried to weasle its way out of it by saying that "slurs by fellow employees are only "stray remarks" are irrevelant in an age discrimination case.

Google was dead wrong.

A person who is between 50-60 yrs is not old. Most within this group can do everything they did when they 25, if they have been keeping fit etc. This age group are the middle-baby boomers, those who grew up The Beatles, The kinks, The Stones, Jimi hendrix, Led Zepplin, Eagles, Grateful Dead, Traffic, Janis Joplin and more. Most were only in Jr. High or younger and only heard about the Vietnam War or about the hippies of the late 60s. Most became adults in the early 70s.

Age discrimination can be that crippling hurdle, despite how well skilled you are. Looks are deceiving and many companies today are overly worried about their public image and feel that if you are over 40 or 45 yrs., it is NOT good PR.  Age discrimination is nothing new. Usually, most interviewers are older than the applicants, however, today, many are not more than 30 yrs, which makes the liklihood of being older than the interviewer greater. And from just a human nature perspective, odd, depending how great the difference is.


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