'Googley' does not mean 'young,' Google claims in age-bias lawsuit

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Googlers are supposed to be Googley, but what exactly that means has become a key point of contention as the tech giant seeks to gut an age-discrimination lawsuit against the company.

The search and digital-ads behemoth has been engaged in a pitched legal battle since 2015 over allegations that it denied jobs to hundreds of workers because they were too old. A judge certified the lawsuit, brought by plaintiffs Robert Heath and Cheryl Fillekes, as a class action, but Google for the second time is now trying to get that certification removed.

"Plaintiffs argue that Googleyness or culture fit are euphemisms for youth and Google interviewers use these to intentionally discriminate on the basis of age," Google said in a recent filing in U.S. District Court in San Jose.

To rebut that argument, the firm pointed to an earlier statement by a judge who, according to the filing said, "I'm not seeing any evidence that cultural fit was designed in any way to eliminate older people."

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Google argued that an hired by the plaintiffs produced a report that contradicted the allegation that "Googley" means "young."

The expert, according to the filing, "analyzed two dimensions of Googleyness," but those two dimensions were redacted from the company's court document. The expert concluded that those Googley factors did not play a statistically significant role in hiring, Google contended.

The company also claimed the expert reversed an earlier opinion he'd given that suggested differences in hiring between older and younger candidates.

On Monday, the plaintiffs countered that a judge had already rejected the same arguments Google presented as new on Friday.

The Department of Labor, investigating Google, has said the company engaged in "extreme" age discrimination, a charge the denies.

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