San Jose, CA, June 28, 2016 – Plaintiff Cheryl Fillekes, represented by Kotchen & Low LLP, filed a motion for conditional collective action certification on behalf of a proposed opt-in class of certain unsuccessful applicants to Google, Inc. alleging age discrimination.
Ms. Fillekes alleges that Google has engaged in a systematic pattern and practice of discriminating against individuals who are age 40 and older. According to her complaint, the average age of Google employees is 29 years old, compared to 43 for the average computer programmer in the U.S.
Ms. Fillekes has testified that when she interviewed with Google, a Google recruiter asked her to put her graduation dates on her resume “so the interviewers can see how old you are.”
Google refers to older workers as “Greyglers,” and older applicants have faced skeptical questioning about their willingness to work long hours and about whether they would fit into the culture at Google or be “Googley” enough.
The EEOC has received complaints of age discrimination by Google and has been conducting an investigation. Another age discrimination lawsuit was previously filed against Google by former executive Brian Reid, who alleged that he was called an “old man,” “old guy,” and “old fuddy-duddy,” and that his ideas were “obsolete,” and was told that he was terminated for a lack of a “cultural fit.”
Ms. Fillekes lawsuit, captioned Heath v. Google Inc., No. 5:15-cv-01824, is pending before Judge Beth Freeman in federal court in San Jose. Motions for conditional collective action certification are normally granted when proposed class members are “similarly situated.” Fillekes seeks to certify a class of:
All individuals who interviewed in-person for any Software Engineer (“SWE”), Site Reliability Engineer (“SRE”), or Systems Engineer (“SysEng”) position with Google in the United States during the time period from August 13, 2010 through the present; were age 40 or older at the time of the interview; and were refused employment by Google.
If the court grants the motion, Fillekes has requested that Google provide her with the names and contact information for rejected applicants fitting within the class definition, after which Fillekes would e-mail notification to potential class members of their opportunity to join the lawsuit.