Ex-Employee Claims Facebook Routinely Fires People Over 50
Worker alleges managers set him up to fail so they could terminate him
Age discrimination cases often come with their own set of code words. Frequently, older employees or job applicants may hear things like “We’re looking for someone with more energy,” or “You’re just not a good fit with the culture.”
A recent lawsuit against Facebook illustrates how this can play out.
Gary Glouner, a former Facebook employee, claims that he was terminated because of his age. Further, he says that Facebook routinely fired employees over the age of 50, reasoning that the individuals were "a poor cultural fit," "didn't get it,” or "didn't move fast enough.”
Let’s take a closer look at what Glouner’s age discrimination lawsuit says, and then talk about what kinds of age discrimination protection the law offers.
Programmed to Fail
According to Glouner, devaluing older workers was baked into the culture at Facebook. Workers often quoted Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s famous line that “Young people are just smarter.”
Glouner outlined his concerns about Facebook’s ageist culture in an email to Zuckerberg but never got a reply.
However, after that, he claims that he began receiving reprimands for being “unfocused” and “not moving fast enough.”
He also claims that he was assigned a project that was outside of his skill set—and alleges that the assignment was intended to cause him to fail.
Around that same time, Glouner suffered an orthopedic injury and a seizure at work. He took leave, but says that he was reprimanded for taking unauthorized time off and not meeting his job expectations. He was fired.
Glouner is now suing for age and disability discrimination, among other claims. The lawsuit is ongoing.
What the Law Says
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) bars companies from treating employees or applicants less favorably because of age. This legal protection kicks in once a person reaches 40.
In addition to prohibiting harassment due to age, the ADEA forbids discrimination in any aspect of employment, including:
- job assignments
- fringe benefits, or
- any other term or condition of employment.
Interestingly enough, the ADEA can also be invoked if a dispute involves two staffers who are both over 40. For example, if a 60-year-old worker is fired and replaced with a 40-year-old, the older person may still have a valid claim for age discrimination.
Call Us for a Consultation Now
Legal issues surrounding age discrimination can be extremely complex. If you’re over 40 and you suspect that you’ve been discriminated against because of your age, it’s a good idea to speak to an attorney.
Call us today to discuss your unique situation.