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Age-Discrimination Suit Against Google Seeks Class Action For Engineers (dailymail.co.uk) 144

An anonymous reader quotes the Daily Mail: A potential class action lawsuit that claims Google discriminated against people over 40 is one step closer to becoming a reality. A motion for conditional certification of collective action status was filed in a San Jose federal court Wednesday, which could open up a suit to anyone over 40 who feels they had been discriminated against by the tech company and not hired because of his or her age. The suit would include "all individuals who interviewed in-person for any software engineer, site reliability engineer, or systems engineer position with Google in the United States in the time period from August 13, 2010 through the present; were age 40 or older at the time of interview; and were refused employment by Google...."
We've discussed ageism before on Slashdot. Now dcblogs shares an article from Computerworld, which says the lawsuit alleges a "systematic pattern" of discrimination, citing the median age of Google's workforce as 29 (according to PayScale), while the median age for U.S. computer programmers is 43. "I think this is long overdue and potentially huge..." says Dan Lyons, who has complained about ageism during his time at HubSpot. "When it comes to age bias, the tech industry doesn't even bother to lie.... Everyone in Silicon Valley knows this and everyone just accepts it."
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Age-Discrimination Suit Against Google Seeks Class Action For Engineers

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  • bs like we find people over X don't like to work over 50 hours a week and that is not the what we want in this office.

    • bs like we find people over X don't like to work over 50 hours a week and that is not the what we want in this office.

      Wait a sec, when people think women don't want to work 50 hour weeks so get fewer promotions and less money it's all fine, because that's their lifestyle choice and they prioritize work hours over pay. But when older people don't or can't work like a 20 year old who hasn't figured out they are being exploited yet, it's unacceptable and a lawsuit is required to fix it.

      Of course 50 hour weeks are ridiculous. At the moment they are mostly illegal in the EU (the limit is 48 hours, and even that can't be a constant thing). Just apply it equally to everyone.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        Except of course this is wholly different. You're talking about a women's career choice(different jobs, not wanting to work long-hours, etc) vs those wanting to work in that job and being discriminated against because the employer wants them to work long hours which are above the norm(highly skilled vs time put in), or outright refusing to hire them because of their age which is what this suit is also talking about.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          It's exactly the same. Women want to do those jobs, but are more likely to refuse putting in masses of overtime regularly, and employers worry that they might want to take maternity leave more so than men so outright refuse to hire them.

          • Anyone with a brain should refuse to work longer than is allowed by law. Meanwhile we have engineers taking paternity leave at the moment.

          • This is one reason that men should also get exactly as much paternity leave as women get maternity leave. It's counter-intuitive, but otherwise employers will always have that motivation to prefer men over women for positions.

        • The employers never say that want anyone to work more than 40 hours, that's illegal. What I see are employees voluntarily doing this because they are misled or mislead themselves into believing they must work longer. Older workers have more experience to realize when they're being conned.

          When the jobs actually require experience then the older workers get the jobs at a much higher rate. When the jobs require tedious repetition and simplistic programmer/engineering, or is a job with thousands applying for

      • bs like we find people over X don't like to work over 50 hours a week and that is not the what we want in this office.

        Wait a sec, when people think women don't want to work 50 hour weeks so get fewer promotions and less money it's all fine, because that's their lifestyle choice and they prioritize work hours over pay. But when older people don't or can't work like a 20 year old who hasn't figured out they are being exploited yet, it's unacceptable and a lawsuit is required to fix it.

        Of course 50 hour weeks are ridiculous. At the moment they are mostly illegal in the EU (the limit is 48 hours, and even that can't be a constant thing). Just apply it equally to everyone.

        For a delivery crunch, I did 60 hours a week for a three month period. At the end of the third month -- I had burnout. I quit that company and took a 6 week rest. Still had that obsessive compulsive 60hr work /week feeling for a long time.

    • by I75BJC ( 4590021 ) on Saturday July 02, 2016 @11:30AM (#52433243)
      How funny! A youngster deems to know about oldsters. Most people over 40 work more than 40 hours per week. Top that off with child-work, house-word (of all sorts), help-friends-work, volunteer-work, car-work, etc., etc. Our senior sysadm joined the company at age 52 and worked 45 hours a week consistently and the 36-hour yearly outage until he left for a more lucrative position. Older workers, being more experienced, seem to troubleshoot quicker and/or better from what I read and experience. The problem with stereotyping is that one day your stereotype will catch up with you. The glory of young men is their strength; The glory of old men is their gray hair (assuming they have any). Youth and strength is one thing; Maturity, experience and (possible) wisdom is quite another.
    • bs like we find people over X don't like to work over 50 hours a week and that is not the what we want in this office.

      I'm 53 and don't mind working however many hours - whatever it takes for me and/or my team to get the job done - as long as the work is (a) interesting, (b) not padded with stupid things, like pointless scrum meeting, and (c) I don't get hassled over not doing those stupid things. Luckily, I have that environment where I work now. In addition, because of my experience, I get asked to do the difficult things that the youngsters can't (yet) do. [Note: Doing the "impossible" things usually takes a little lo

    • Well, it depends. I'll work 50 hours a week if I am paid accordingly.

      $150k should do it.

      At least in my area, if it were Silicon Valley, it would likely be more like $500k, but I don't even know what salaries are like out there, so I could be off.

  • Yep (Score:5, Informative)

    by geek ( 5680 ) on Saturday July 02, 2016 @10:41AM (#52433019)

    My company has a new program that targets "millennials". Our HR department has been very vocal about it and how they need to target things millennials want on a work environment, like game rooms and catered meals etc. Its all talked about like this great thing and the future of the company. The hype is huge. Meanwhile I'm seeing fewer and fewer people over 50 at the company.

    We're a fortune 500 company. The age bias is blatant and in our faces. We are not based out of Silicon Valley either.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Of course, because millennials have been told that they are feckless and lazy and need to work harder. "Back in my day we did 50 hour weeks, and had to walk to work, uphill both ways, for tuppence a day". And it's expected of them - unpaid internships are a thing, and even seen as the best way to get a foot in the door of competitive environments. Don't forget the massive student debt baring down on them too.

      We basically set them up to be exploited because instead of trying to make the world better for ever

      • Boomers had it pretty easy in the job market, with salaries that actually allowed a living. We still have it pretty good that we (ok, I at least) managed to get into the job market with a salary that allowed me to ... well... at least I got a salary right from the start! And I was hired by a company right from the start, I didn't have to go through a temp agency that sends me about like a cheap ho, here today, there tomorrow. Back in my day you could actually even get a foot in the door without degrees that

      • by Anonymous Coward

        If they spent less time in the game room maybe they could finish their work in 40 hours.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Stop blaming Baby Boomers. The people running these companies are in their 30s to 40s and are way outside of the Baby Boomer generation. The ones shitting on millenials are people just 10-20 years older than they are.

      • unpaid internships are a thing, and even seen as the best way to get a foot in the door of competitive environments.

        Unpaid internships are illegal in America, and are pretty much non-existent in tech. My daughter is doing an internship this summer, and is being paid $18/hour.

      • "Back in my day we did 50 hour weeks, and had to walk to work, uphill both ways, for tuppence a day"

        LUXURY! [youtube.com]

    • we dont want that shit. we want the money. the profit sharing. company stock.
    • Man, did I hate the fucking game rooms. Always full of loud people NOT DOING ANY WORK. Then again, maybe it was safer that way.

    • Well, we have catering. The old folks love it. I don't think that's a millenial feature, just a nice feature that makes sure people are in the office and spend a half hour for lunch versus everyone vanishing for two hours while they go out hunting for places to eat.

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Which comapany is this? :P

  • by ark1 ( 873448 ) on Saturday July 02, 2016 @10:45AM (#52433041)
    Facebook has a bout the same median age. In addition Zuckerberg openly stated “Young people are just smarter” on hiring practices. While we are at it, why not a lawsuit for gender and race equality...
    • Perhaps Facebook has no money to or future left since they bought Oculus Rift? So, sue Wall Street hiring practices. From what I've seen the Catholic church hasn't hired many Jews or Arabs. That might be a potential target too. Where are the blue eyed dishers? Women garbage men? The list is long.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I started a new job four months ago and was hired to fix a project that had stagnated for a year. The team were all guys in their 20's fresh out of college, and the application they wrote was a poorly designed, un-maintainable piece of garbage. But I couldn't blame them, that's how I coded back when I was in university and didn't have any real-world experience either. I knew where they were coming from.

      I'm 37 and was hired to do in several weeks what five 20-year olds couldn't do in a year. Literally the ON

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Quiet simply, older employees aren't willing to be walked all over by management. What, you want me to work 80 hours a week without overtime? That's why these companies want people under 30 and H1Bs as well. It's about control. Older employees are more likely to tell you to go fuck yourself when you tell them to work more unpaid overtime.

    Guess what kiddies, the longer you keep taking it up the ass, the more you are going to get fucked over. Do you think this companies actually give a shit about you? T

  • If this lawsuit reaches the U.S. Supreme Court, Google wins. There is a justice on the Supreme Court who used to head the U.S. Equal-Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). While in that position, he sat on over 20,000 age-discrimination complaints until the statute of limitations expired. If he had been an attorney in private practice or a non-judge government attorney, he would have been disbarred. Who is he? Hint: Anita Hill was a side issue.

  • Even if it's true, how do you prove something like this? Younger programmers will, on average, have different qualifications. Younger programmers are less interested, on average, in quality of life issues.

    "Heath applied for a job in 2011, when he was 60, and was denied employment even though he said he was perfectly qualified for the software engineering position and was deemed 'a great candidate' by a recruiter."

    I'm sure agism exists - heck, it may even have been a factor in this case. But: what a recruit

    • by Anonymous Coward

      When I was volunteering as an IT guy to stay busy and keep my skills up (made NO difference to employers), I had a retired IT Director as my supervisor. We were talking about my job hunt (I was in my late 40s then). He said (to paraphrase), it isn't right, but when you have two candidates with the same qualifications, an employer is going to go with the younger one.

      As for me, after a few years of applications, putting code on GitHub and having it ignored, learning iOS and Android development and having tha

    • The LinkedIn page for Cheryl Ann Fillekes [linkedin.com], which only includes her education. Here is her professional experience [vizualize.me] from a different site. She is also suing Google for not hiring her as a programmer.

      Her entire educational trajectory is in fields related to geophysics, but apparently she learned programming on the side. Her professional experience does sound interesting. Google contacted her four times for interviews, but decided each time not to hire her.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    When I was there they kept talking up how many job openings they had in the US, yet most of them were for new college graduates (NCGs in their lingo). Sure, for a few hot specialties like security or machine learning they probably would've hired a mid career guy. Almost all of their headcount came from acquisitions, and it was winnowed on an annual basis through layoffs ("resource actions").

    One interesting program they had (this was years ago, probably discontinued) was a set of educational incentives fo

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday July 02, 2016 @11:12AM (#52433181)

    I am already stating in any job offer I send out for applicants to explicitly NOT include race, age, sex, religion or ANYTHING that I could possibly discriminate against. At least if they do I can reject them for not following application guidelines without fearing a lawsuit. At least legal told me so, and I tend to believe them.

    Quite frankly and directly: I would hire a 55 year old over a 25 year old INSTANTLY, provided I can afford him. What's coming out of college these days is such a bunch of useless self entitled special snowflakes that I could literally fire them out of a cannon from my top floor office. If legal didn't tell me that this is oddly still illegal, for some odd reason that I just can't understand.

    Sorry, had to vent some steam. Mod this any way you like, I have Karma to burn, but this had to be said!

    • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Saturday July 02, 2016 @02:48PM (#52434519) Journal

      What's coming out of college these days is such a bunch of useless self entitled special snowflakes that I could literally fire them out of a cannon from my top floor office.

      Hi Plato, is that you again? Do the kids these days also lover chatter in place of exercise?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Discriminating against people UNDER 40 is totally legal. Federal law only states that you can't discriminate on the basis of age for those 40 and over.

    • by aralin ( 107264 )

      How am I going to do that? Should I avoid any mention of the schools where I studied and when? Should I omit the name of the major as they change every decade? Should I omit any experience older than 10 years, just to give myself a chance? Should I skip on my job titles as they give out the time the position was held just as easily? There is no way to prevent age discrimination when the recruiter looks for the age, he will find it in every resume.

  • Pitting older technologists against younger technologists (and visa versa) is just a way to drive the salary costs down for both groups. It also denies both young and old technologists the opportunity to combine energy with experience. Expose a young technologist to that experience and it may save them weeks of time exploring some avenue and come up with some new approach the experienced person hadn't seen.

    If being younger in IT means having the shit flogged out of you as it ruins your social life (ironic

    • why would any sane person invest their time in qualifying for such a career if its longevity is threatened.

      Because IT isn't threatened. With computers going into everything, IT is here to stay, and it is going to continue increasing as a proportion of all jobs. This is in spite of the industry's attempts to kill itself with cut corners, aversion to experience, and constant reinventing-of-the-wheel due to a refusal to learn from history.

      • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

        Apologies, I submitted that before I'd finished the proofread because I was tired. It should have read:

        why would any sane person invest their time in qualifying for such a career if their longevity in it is threatened.

        Because IT isn't threatened. With computers going into everything, IT is here to stay, and it is going to continue increasing as a proportion of all jobs. This is in spite of the industry's attempts to kill itself with cut corners, aversion to experience, and constant reinventing-of-the-wheel due to a refusal to learn from history.

        Indeed, perhaps IT companies could learn from another Benjamin Franklin quote : "An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."

  • That's right!
    You better hire me, you snot-nosed little bastards!
    I've got backup-disks laying around that are older that your little company!
    Speak up son, and don't put any of that candy-ass crap in my coffee!
    Why don't you have any god-damned real chairs here?

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday July 02, 2016 @11:33AM (#52433263)
    Since it's pretty much a fact that you can work longer and harder when you're young. And it's not like experience is all that important in a brand new field. I understand why the working class is against it. We all get old but very few of us can stop working at 40. But I sorta wish we working class folks could be more honest about it and just admit we're protecting our own interests. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that but we act like we're doing something disdainful...
    • by Lije Baley ( 88936 ) on Saturday July 02, 2016 @01:22PM (#52433977)

      Show an "old guy" 5 new things and he'll draw on his experience to give you 5 reasons each why a) they're not new, and b) they still won't yield a return on investment. The "young guy", however, won't be fazed by such "cynicism", and will be a preferred hire for managers and their ilk who build their careers by doing projects, "successfully". Experienced people are just rain on the parade.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Neither way is right. We had an old hardware guy who wanted to do all the signal processing in analogue and use an old but "tried and tested" microcontroller. The product sucked, battery life was poor, tuning it was a nightmare and the micro was both under used and made writing good, robust firmware impossible.

        We replaced it with a device that runs for twice a long on half as much battery, with a modern micro and extremely reliable firmware.

        I evaluate parts based on my requirements. I understand that while

        • I was actually thinking to myself of exceptions like you mentioned, but now I'm wondering what the ratio of those are to the hundreds of half-assed Arduino-esque gadgets coming out of China these days.

      • but the science doesn't back it up. It's not so much experience as an inability to learn new things. It's been pretty much shown that the older you get the harder it is for you to assimilate new information. There are exceptions, but in business you want predictable results. Those exceptions are too few and far between. And while Experienced people might be very good at what they learned 20 years ago and you want some of those you don't need nearly as many. Doesn't help that productivity has basically doubl
    • by PJ6 ( 1151747 ) on Saturday July 02, 2016 @02:19PM (#52434363)

      Since it's pretty much a fact that you can work longer and harder when you're young. And it's not like experience is all that important in a brand new field. I understand why the working class is against it. We all get old but very few of us can stop working at 40. But I sorta wish we working class folks could be more honest about it and just admit we're protecting our own interests. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that but we act like we're doing something disdainful...

      Programming isn't like shoveling coal - working harder and longer usually results in worse output. And experience can be a very strong productivity multiplier.

      If you had any tech experience at all you'd know this.

      ... what are you doing here?

      • Programming isn't like shoveling coal - working harder and longer usually results in worse output. And experience can be a very strong productivity multiplier.

        Put another way: "Traveling through hyperspace ain't like dusting crops, boy! Without precise calculations we could fly right through a star or bounce too close to a supernova and that'd end your trip real quick, wouldn't it?"

      • although for all but the top maybe 10% of coders that's probably more important than anything. You're rank and file are just implementing biz logic after all. But don't forget that the ability to learn and adapt goes _down_ as you get older. It just does, and there's plenty of research to show this. An experienced programmer can crank out code he's already written faster, but so what. He's gonna want to work fewer hours and have more benefits. On the low end I can not only work those young guys half again a
        • by PJ6 ( 1151747 )

          although for all but the top maybe 10% of coders that's probably more important than anything. You're rank and file are just implementing biz logic after all. But don't forget that the ability to learn and adapt goes _down_ as you get older. It just does, and there's plenty of research to show this. An experienced programmer can crank out code he's already written faster, but so what. He's gonna want to work fewer hours and have more benefits. On the low end I can not only work those young guys half again as hard and pay them half as much. They cost less to give medical insurance for to boot. On the high end their ability to learn makes up for their lack of experience. The reason you were taught to respect your elders is they were smart enough to know they weren't needed anymore and you'd need an emotional reason drilled into you when you were mentally vulnerable or you'd kick 'em to the curb.

          Wow, seriously? Pro-tip: go anonymous if you just want to troll.

          On the off chance you actually mean that, I'm not going to even bother explaining to you what's wrong with your line of thinking. You don't understand software development at all.

          Well... maybe you are a manager.

    • by joss ( 1346 )

      > it's not like experience is all that important in a brand new field

      What brand new field ? There's no such thing. You could be writing drivers for teleporters using a quantum computer for all I care, experience still helps.

    • by phorm ( 591458 )

      Since it's pretty much a fact that you can work longer and harder when you're young

      And party longer and harder the night before work, and show up more hung over and less useful.

  • I'm sure every candidate who was interviewed and rejected can make this claim..
  • Speaking as a 53-year-old engineer... I haven't encountered age discrimination. Then again, I work in the Salt Lake City / Provo Utah area, not Silicon Valley. Is ageism widespread in Silicon Valley, and is it a bad thing? If so -- if preferring a younger candidate over an older candidate is based on irrational prejudices rather than on a hard-nosed assessment of who brings the most value to the company -- then companies that practice ageism put themselves at a competitive disadvantage against companies t
  • I'm a software engineer in my sixties. I got hired last year by Amazon. Two weeks ago I finally updated by LinkedIn profile to include my "new" job at Amazon. Within a week I was contacted by Google to hear if I would be interested in pursuing a career at Google.

    Based on my educational background posted on my LinkedIn profile it should be clear that I'm at least 55+. I actually had an internal recruiter at a different company recommending me to remove the year I got my degree from my profile as it leaked
  • It's ageism but it's also about pay, the companies don't want to pay older skilled workers when they can claim a shortage and get cheap labor.
    Every company should report on workplace diversity include age, race and sex.
  • Guess their recruiters didn't get the memo. They keep contacting me despite it being clear from my LinkedIn page that I'm over 40.
  • In 2013, I got called by Google out of the blue to go on-site to their NYC location, just after I’d turned 40. Note that I had gotten my PhD in 2012 and was working as a CS professor when they called me. They insisted that I was so awesome that they skipped me right past the phone technical interview directly to an on-site interview, because they really wanted me right away. Oddly, although I’d made it clear that my strongest skills were in computer architecture and circuit design, they insis

  • ... and I said why bother, at 58 you won't hire me anyway.
  • Did you know that you can say literally anything, as long as it is extreme, and attributed to millennials, and someone will believe you? Check it out.

    Millennials have no work ethic whatsoever. They expect game rooms, catered lunches and other ridiculous benefits.

    Millennials are ruining the job market. HR directors only want millennials because they're stupid enough to work 50-80 hours a week for peanuts.

    Millennials have no job loyalty. They walk off the minute someone gives them a better offer, so it's poin

    • by eWarz ( 610883 )

      I've been in programming and IT since I was 18 years old and I've NEVER seen an issue of age discrimination. As an example, the CTO at my current job is in his 60s. I am 34.

      A trend I do see is that older people stop caring after a while. I work in the healthcare industry and we get strict audits constantly due to HIPAA regulations. At a previous job, about half our staff was laid off once due to refusing to fix issues that came up during 3 different audits. The majority of these employees were older,

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