- A 52-year-old former Facebook manager is suing the social media company over alleged age and disability discrimination, SFGate reports. Gary Glouner claims Facebook fired him after he complained about the company's treatment of older workers.
- In his suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Glouner alleges that Facebook has a record of firing workers over 50, telling them they're not working fast enough nor a cultural fit for the company. Glouner said he was fired in 2015 after going on medical leave following an injury and a seizure, and was told when he returned to work that he wasn't meeting the expectations of the job. The suit also claims that Facebook routinely replaces the older workers it fires with younger workers.
- According to SFGate, Facebook called Glouner's accusations "full of inaccuracies” and claimed it tried extensively to accommodate his medical situation. The company also denied his termination was based on age, disability or any other factor.
Although the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects workers 40 and older from workplace bias, age discrimination in the technology industry is often hard to prove because tech firms don't release data on older workers as they do on other protected classes of employees, such as women and African-Americans. Nevertheless, allegations of age discrimination, along with gender and racial bias claims, occur far too frequently.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces the ADEA and other anti-discrimination laws, renewed its commitment to protecting older workers in the 2017, Volume 2, edition of the EEO Digest in May. The agency's statement suggests that age discrimination remains a serious problem in the workplace.
Older workers face stereotypes such as not being able to work as fast as younger workers or master technological skills in a digital age. Also, with age often comes medical problems and sometimes a heightened possibility of on-the-job injuries, increasing employer healthcare costs.
Many older workers want or need to stay in the workplace beyond retirement age either to remain active or to keep earning an income that retirement benefits won't offer. But they face particular challenges, which bring up the question of just how pervasive ageism is in the workplace.
Employers must ensure that their reasons for firing a worker over 40 are based solely on performance and don't also violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.