July 26, 2004 10:16 AM PDT

Google hit with age discrimination suit

A former Google executive has filed an age discrimination suit against the Internet search engine, claiming that he was fired because he did not fit its youthful corporate culture.

In the lawsuit, filed last week in California Superior Court in Santa Clara County, Brian Reid charges that Google routinely discriminates against employees over the age of 40 in its recruiting, hiring and employment practices. Reid, who is 54, contends that he was terminated from his position as director of operations based on his age and ongoing health issues related to diabetes.

Google had little comment on the case. Steve Langdon, a spokesman for the company, said only that it considers Reid's claim to be "without merit" and that it plans to "defend itself vigorously" against the charges. Langdon would not respond to Reid's claim in his suit that he was recruited and hired by Google's founding executives.

The former Google employee has not disclosed the amount of damages he is seeking in the suit, but a portion of the claim revolves around money Reid would have been entitled to based on his stock options and the company's proposed $3.3 billion initial public offering.

In a statement released late Friday, Reid's attorneys assert that 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.

Reid was hired by Google in 2002, in what he characterizes as a "rare senior hire," to manage some of the company's work force issues. After garnering praise and compensation for completion of those tasks, Reid said the environment at Google changed and he was treated differently than other employees, based on his age and medical condition. Reid claims that he was fired without warning in February, after being told that he was no longer "compatible" with the company's corporate culture.

Lawyers for the former Google employee contend that the firing was executed at that particular time to keep Reid from benefiting from Google's IPO, which was announced only nine days after his termination. According to the attorneys, Reid's firing cost him millions of dollars in potential Google stock earnings.


Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Age discrimination in high tech!?
I'm shocked, shocked to find (alleged) age discrimination in high tech.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag

Age Discrimination
Age discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) less favorably because of his age.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) only forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older. It does not protect workers under the age of 40, although some states do have laws that protect younger workers from age discrimination.

It is not illegal for an employer or other covered entity to favor an older worker over a younger one, even if both workers are age 40 or older.

Discrimination can occur when the victim and the person who inflicted the discrimination are both over 40.

Age Discrimination & Work Situations
The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

Age Discrimination & Harassment
It is unlawful to harass a person because of his or her age.

Harassment can include, for example, offensive remarks about a person's age. Although the law doesn't prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that aren't very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

Age Discrimination & Employment Policies/Practices
An employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of age, can be illegal if it has a negative impact on applicants or employees age 40 or older and is not based on a reasonable factor other than age.
Posted by EEOC1954 (2 comments )
Link Flag

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot



RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.