Google accused of ageism in reinstated lawsuit
SAN JOSE - A 54-year-old former Google Inc. manager who claimed he was fired after a supervisor told him his opinions were "too old to matter" had his age discrimination lawsuit reinstated.
Reversing a Santa Clara County trial judge, the state's Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled Thursday that Brian Reid deserves to have a jury hear the evidence he amassed that he says shows Google routinely gave older managers lower evaluations and smaller bonuses than younger managers.
"Reid produced sufficient evidence that Google's (stated) reasons for terminating him were untrue or pretextual, and that Google acted with discriminatory motive such that a fact-finder would conclude Google engaged in age discrimination," Presiding Justice Conrad L. Rushing wrote.
The Mountain View-based search engine company has denied Reid's allegations but also refused to say why he was fired. In court documents, the company said Reid was fired when the program he managed was canceled.
Reid, a former associate electrical engineering professor at Stanford University, sued Google in July 2004, five months after he lost his job as its director of operations.
He alleged in his suit that his supervisors did not initially tell him why he was being fired. Director of Engineering Wayne Rosing, 55, eventually said he was not a good "cultural fit" at Google, where some colleagues referred to him as an "old guy" and "fuddy-duddy," Reid said.
Another supervisor, Urs Hoelzle allegedly said Reid, who is a diabetic, was too sluggish and "too old to matter" and his ideas were obsolete.
Reid is seeking back pay and punitive damages. He made $200,000 a year and lost stock options valued at millions of dollars when he lost his job.