Google pays $11M to settle with job seekers who alleged age discrimination

Age is just a number.

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Google was accused of discriminating against older people. 

James Martin/CNET

Google is shelling out $11 million to end a lawsuit that accused the search giant of discriminating against older job seekers. The Alphabet-owned company has also agreed to train managers on age bias, form a committee focused on age diversity and investigate age bias complaints.

The lawsuit accused Google of engaging in a "systematic pattern or practice of discrimination" against job applicants who were age 40 and over. One of the lead plaintiffs on the case, Cheryl Fillekes, said she interviewed with Google four times but was never offered a position, despite her qualifications, because of her age. 

Google denied that it intentionally discriminated against the plaintiffs, or any job applicants, because of their age. The company says it works hard to build an inclusive workplace and has strong policies against discrimination on any unlawful basis, including age. 

The final settlement proposal was submitted to a federal judge in the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Friday. After lawyer fees, the settlement reportedly works out to about $35,000 for each of the 227 people who joined the class action. The agreement is subject to court approval.

"We believe that age discrimination is pervasive in the tech industry, and we hope that other companies will scrutinize their employment practices and strive to eliminate age-based bias in hiring," said Daniel Low, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, in an emailed statement. "In addition to a monetary award ... the settlement agreement also includes programmatic relief which will help prevent potential age discrimination at Google in the future."

Originally published July 23, 6:11 a.m. PT.
Updates, 6:43 p.m. PT: Adds that Google has denied the allegations. 9:16 a.m. PT: Adds comment from lawyer for the plaintiffs.

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