Aged to Perfection, But You Still Can’t Get a Job

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Discrimination debacle

Despite the adage that we get better with age, corporate America appears to uphold a different philosophy.  Several companies, including Goldman Sachs, IBM, Verizon Communications, and Google have become the topics of scrutiny concerning their employee demographics.  According to observations, these companies harbor a tendency to hire younger workers and push out the older generation.  In particular, Google played the defendant role in a recent class-action lawsuit that has now settled.  According to claims, Google denied employment to well-qualified applicants who were not fresh out of college, over the age of 40.

In response to the lawsuit, Google contends that it did not deliberately discriminate against anyone who applied for positions with the company.  The company claims to have policies against discrimination.  The chief plaintiff in the case, Cheryl Fillekes, begs to differ on Google’s defense.  Due to her previous programming experience, Fillekes applied for a role with Google on four separate instances.  Although capable of the job, Google passed over Fillekes all four times she applied, in favor of another candidate.  In her argument, Fillekes addresses a pattern in Google only hiring younger employees. In the settlement, announced on Monday, July 22, Google agreed to pay $11 million in compensation, leaving a total of $35,000 for each claimant.  Also, Google must train its current managers on the importance of remaining mindful of age diversity.

Similar to Google, other companies have tried to shorten the age range of employees.  IBM, for example, cut the jobs of 20,000 American workers, all over the age of 40.  Several former IBM employees have retaliated in the form of a class-action lawsuit. Verizon Communications offered a separation agreement with employees, providing packages to entice older employees to leave their positions.  Many categorize this program as age discrimination.  Goldman Sachs advertises for potential job candidates by displaying pictures of younger employees.  The intentions of excluding images of anyone above 40 years of age on advertisements and its website is unclear but can be perceived as discriminatory in nature.