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Arguments Heard Wednesday in Google Age Discrimination Case

The Supreme Court of California heard arguments today in San Francisco in an age discrimination case against Google. Brian Reid brought the age discrimination lawsuit against his former employer alleging that he was wrongfully terminated because he didn't fit in with the youth-centric culture at Google. The state's high court is not deciding whether Reid was discriminated against, but whether Reid's case presents enough evidence to go to trial.

Brian Reid was hired at age 52, when Google was still a new company in 2004, to be the director of engineering and operations. He worked for the company for almost two years before he was fired. He said he was told he was not a good "cultural fit" with Google. Reid's attorney says that that is a code term for being "too old." Google maintains that their culture has nothing to do with age, but is more about hard work and innovation.  

Among other questions, the justices will decide whether "stray remarks" are enough evidence to claim age discrimination. The remarks were made by co-workers of Reid who did not have any direct power over his job. He says they called him an old fuddy duddy and said he was slow and other similar characterizations. Reid says that the remarks provide evidence of a culture at Google that was hostile to people of his generation.

Google points out that Reid was already 50 when they hired him. Reid's attorney claims that he was hired because the then start-up needed capital funding.

The court has 90 days to decide whether the case can go to trial.

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