10:55, July 22 79 0 theguardian.com

2019-07-22 10:55:04
Google pays $11m to jobseekers who alleged age discrimination

Google has settled a lawsuit alleging age discrimination in its hiring practices, paying $11m to more than 200 jobseekers who were over 40 when they applied to join the company.

Although it has settled the case, Google denies the allegations that it was unfairly dismissive of older applicants.

Instead, the company argues that the members of the class-action suit failed to demonstrate technical prowess, and that the question of culture fit – whether or not candidates were “Googley” enough to join – was not the issue.

Cheryl Fillekes, the lead plaintiff, said that she was interviewed by the company four times, yet never offered a job because of her age. “Age discrimination is an issue that needs to be addressed in the tech industry,” Fillekes’ lawyer told Bloomberg, “and we’re very pleased that we were able to obtain a fair settlement for our clients in this case.”

Silicon Valley has long battled accusations of ageism at work. According to the research firm Payscale, the average age of a Facebook employee is 29, while at Amazon it is 30. In 2016, the engineer who led Apple’s project to switch to Intel chips was reportedly turned down for a job on the Genius Bar at one of the company’s high-street stores. JK Scheinberg – who now tweets under the name “Don’t ask me about Apple” – backed up the report in 2016, sharing a link to a book about ageism in tech with the line “Wonder if Apple will finally give me callback on that genius bar interview”.

Don’t ask me about Apple (@tiltdad)

Wonder if Apple will finally give me callback on that genius bar interview https://t.co/9fXt5fBFTU #ageism

September 5, 2016

In a second settlement for Google, the company has agreed to pay $13m to end a lawsuit over data protection violations committed when the company was setting up its Street View project in 2010. As part of that effort, which involved sending cars equipped with cameras to try to map every street in the US, Google also started collecting information from open wifi networks as it drove by homes.

The company’s lawyers had argued that, since the wifi networks were open, the information should not be considered private. But that argument suffered a setback in 2013, when a federal court rejected the claim.

Nonetheless, the settlement is only good news for a tiny number of consumers. Lawyers argued that it would be impossible to track down every victim of the privacy violations from the random bits of information collected as a street view car zoomed past their homes, and so only the 18 plaintiffs who explicitly filed the class action will get an individual payout. The rest of the money will be distributed to consumer privacy groups, according to Bloomberg.

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