Google is paying 227 people $35, 000 as part of an $11 million settlement fee in a court case closed this month. The firm was accused of making hiring decisions based unfairly on age and turning down candidates who were in their forties or older.

An example of the kind of age discrimination applicants faced was illustrated by the case of Heath, another individual who filed suit against Google. As per Ars Technica:

During the interview process, Heath received a technical phone interview with a Google engineer. Heath alleged that the engineer had a heavy accent, a problem made worse by the engineer’s insistence on using a speakerphone. When Heath was working through a technical problem, he asked if he could share his code using a Google Doc. The interviewer refused, Heath alleged. Instead, Heath had to read code snippets over the phone—an inherently error-prone process. Heath argued that the interview process “reflected a complete disregard for older workers who are undeniably more susceptible to hearing loss.” Heath also said that the interviewer assumed that the word “byte” meant eight bits. In his view, this also revealed age bias. Modern computer systems use 8-bit bytes, but older computer systems could have byte sizes ranging from six to 40 bits.

In addition to the settlement payment, Google will be training hiring managers on age bias, investigate age bias claims and form a committee on age diversity.

Google for its part denies that there was any discrimination going on, at least intentionally so. The firm says its policies of inclusiveness should speak for themselves.

Source: Cnet