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Costs and fees: Barriers to #Age #discrimination claims in general and against Google in particular

by on December 16, 2016

This is not our annual festive blog post! I’m still looking for suitable material for that.

So in the meantime, I noticed that our friends at Lewis Silkin had tweeted a link earlier today to a graph showing the number of age discrimination claims brought in England & Wales each year since the legislation came into force 10 years ago.

If you follow the link to their article, this explains that the spike is almost certainly due to a large multiple claimant issue in September 2015 as the average number of claims each month on either side of that is relatively stable. The figures still show a downward trend since fees became payable to bring a claim. This really highlights the difficulty in tackling discriminatory action and ageist views – it all depends on individuals being able to bring claims against organizations and that is undoubtedly harder if you have to pay a fee.

In other age discrimination news, HR Dive (who cover news in the HR industry) reports that “ageism is the most ‘acceptable’ form of workplace discrimination” but is also hard to prove. They are covering the topic in the US (though the hard-to-prove issue is just as relevant in the UK). In the US, legislation only protects those over 40 from age discrimination, but the article claims that ageism is now affecting those in their 30s and 40s, quoting a LinkedIn Pulse survey. Apparently organizations can find 20-year-olds to do their jobs for less money.

In the meantime, and relating to the tech industry which is often cited as ageist, Computerworld report that the trial date has been set for the Google age-discrimination trial date. However, it’s not going to happen until November 2018. It’s been turned into a sort of class action where others can join the lawsuit. To be eligible, they need to have had an in-person interview with Google for certain types of software engineering jobs, to have been over the age of 40 at the time, and were rejected by Google from August 2014 through the present. Apparently, there may be thousands who are eligible. Once again, it’s interesting to note how money may act as a barrier to justice. Not upfront fees this time, it’s said that some people may be deterred from joining the legal action because of the risk of being liable for some of the costs, in the event that Google win.

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