Thursday, November 20, 2008

Obama and Google Age Discrimination

Obama is listening to Google executives, which could be good for technology. But will Google's access to the halls of government lead to tacit acceptance of age discrimination? The search giant, who's public mantra is "Do no evil" has been slapped with a discrimination suit that has revealed damning statistics in Google's employment practices (if you're old).

In July 2006 ZDnet reported that Google had been slapped with an age discrimination suit for terminating the employment of one of the few executives over 40. In a statement to the press, the attorney's of defendant Brian Reid said, "Google executives overlook age discrimination laws in an effort to foster a corporate environment that emphasizes 'youth and energy.' The strategy has led to a work force with an average age of under 30 and with less than 2 percent of employees over 40, according to the claim. Google employed just more than 1,600 people in 2003."

According to the SF Chronicle One of Reid's supervisors, "Urs Hoelzle, who was 15 years younger than Reid, told him that his opinions and ideas were obsolete and "too old to matter," and that he was sluggish and lethargic, the court said. Some colleagues referred to him as an "old guy" and "fuddy-duddy......

"As part of the lawsuit, Reid presented a statistician's study of employees and managers in his department at Google that found older employees consistently received lower evaluations than their younger colleagues, and older managers got bonuses that were 29 percent less than those awarded to managers who were 10 years younger." (Article published Oct. 5, 2007)

Google handled the case badly according to an analysis posted on Nolo's employment blog

The California State Supreme Court will review the case according the SF Chronicle January 2008 follow-up article .