Age discrimination in the tech industry has become a hot button issue recently,
as the baby boomers who were present at the start of the technology revolution
in the 80s have aged and as their kids start to bump into them in the
workplace. Last week, Peter Taylor, a former Twitter manager, filed a
lawsuit against the company, alleging age discrimination because he was fired
and replaced with employees in their 20s and 30s.
Taylor was hired by Twitter in January 2011 as the manager of data center
deployment. His responsibilities included managing the expansion and critical
operations of Twitter's data centers. He was paid a salary and also
granted substantial stock options.
According to the complaint, Taylor saved Twitter over 10 million dollars
in the expansions of the data centers, was on their critical talent list,
and received 20,000 Restricted Stock Units as a reward for his performance.
Twitter evaluated his performance as meeting or exceeding expectations
throughout his employment.
Taylor was fired on September 23, 2013, when he was 57 years old. He had
been granted the stock units just six months prior to that date, and had
received a meets-expectations evaluation just six weeks before then. According
to the complaint, "he was terminated without warning, without notice,
without explanation, and without an opportunity to discuss any concerns
defendants might have". His supervisor had made at least one critical
remark about his age, and the persons Twitter employed in positions similar
to his position were in their 20s and 30s.
The lawsuit also alleges Twitter discriminated against Taylor for a disability
in addition to his age. Taylor had surgery to remove kidney stones in
April 2013, but scheduled his surgery and doctor visits so that he still
worked full time for Twitter, although he spent less time on the work
than he did normally. According to the complaint, he told his supervisors
about his physical disability and requested that they assign additional
persons to help him with his responsibilities. However, rather than accommodate
his request by assigning him more workers, Twitter assigned him additional
work and demanded that he complete the work while he was disabled.
By failing to engage in an interactive process regarding an accommodation
of his disability, and by terminating him, Twitter engaged in disability
discrimination. Taylor filed a complaint with the California Fair Employment
and Housing Administration alleging unlawful disability discrimination.
The agency issued a right to sue letter last month.
Age discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee)
less favorably because of his age. The law forbids discrimination when
it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job
assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other
term or condition of employment.
Davida Perry and Brian Heller of Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP will be offering
an online seminar entitled
Ageism in Employment: A High-Tech Trend?
this Thursday July 24
th from 11am to 12pm ET. To register, go to