Google has agreed to pay out $11 million to 227 job applicants who allege the search-engine giant discriminated against them because of ageism.
That comes to roughly $35,000 per applicant, which is far less than they would have made as even an entry-level software engineer. Google, which continues to deny the lawsuit’s allegations of ageism, has insisted that the applicants didn’t meet the jobs’ technical requirements. Nonetheless, the company will have to follow the terms of the agreement, which include setting up a committee to address age issues in tech recruiting, as well as training for employees and managers about age bias.
“Age discrimination is an issue that needs to be addressed in the tech industry, and we’re very pleased that we were able to obtain a fair settlement for our clients in this case,” Daniel Low, a lawyer for one of the job-seekers, wrote in an email to Bloomberg.
But this isn’t just a Google-centric issue. In June, Hired demonstrated that tech professionals’ earnings level off after age 40. And that report, in turn, echoed a 2018 survey from First Round Capital that showed startup founders believing that ageism in tech starts to kick in around age 36 (which aligns with the age that Hired’s data shows salary expectations and offers starting to go in opposite directions).
Last year, responding to the Dice Diversity and Inclusion Survey, tech professionals told us that they feel ageism is prevalent in the industry: 29 percent of respondents reported “experiencing or witnessing” age-based discrimination in the workplace, which outpaced gender discrimination (21 percent), political-affiliation discrimination (11 percent), and bias based on sexual orientation (six percent).
“The survey found those in their late 40s (ages 46 through 49, specifically) were particularly affected,” the note accompanying our survey added. “Of this group, a staggering 80 percent say they’re concerned their age (and ageism attitudes) will affect their careers.”
Many older workers don’t need a report or survey to see that things are often grim. A recent ProPublica report found that professionals over 50 were often forced out of their position, and faced longer layoffs. Even if they find new positions, only ten percent earn as much as they did before losing their initial high-paying job (all of which may contribute to lowered expectations). It’s hard out there, but sometimes a lawsuit does attempt to adjust the scales a bit.