CAUTIONARY TALE EPISODE 34 « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles



Google Settles Age Discrimination Case for $11 Million

Federal age discrimination protections, including the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), apply to companies with 20 or more on payroll. California’s workplace anti-discrimination law, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), applies to employers with five or more on payroll. Both types of age-related discrimination laws only apply to persons age 40 or over.

In a federal class action lawsuit against Google,  named plaintiffs Robert Heath (age 60+) and Cheryl Fillekes (age 47) alleged that despite possessing highly pertinent qualifications and experience, Google engaged in an intentional, systematic pattern of discrimination against 227 applicants age 40-plus interviewing for technical engineering positions throughout the United States.

This case recently settled for $11 million, with Google agreeing to train managers and employees on age-based bias; create an internal recruiting subcommittee to focus on age diversity; and ensure the company’s marketing efforts reflect age diversity.

Best practices:

  • Do not restrict or prefer job candidates on the basis of any “protected class.”
  • Periodically refresh or re-train job interviewers on acceptable and unacceptable employment inquiries.
  • Never request age information from job applicants except where a certain age range or age limit is a legitimate “bona fide occupational qualification.”
  • Include the phrase “An Equal Opportunity Employer” with all job listings.
  • When including images with job postings, ensure they represent a diverse population.
  • Use reference guides such as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s Inquiries Sheet when conducting interviews.
  • Consult with knowledgeable legal counsel for further assistance.

See also,

For further information, please contact Tim BowlesCindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Cindy Bamforth

September 5, 2019