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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Twitter Sued for Age Discrimination

Posted By on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 7:09 AM

Tech companies don't look too kindly on their elders.
  • Tech companies don't look too kindly on their elders.

By now we're habituated to think of Silicon Valley as a bros' domain -- with CEOs walloped by scandals they committed at fraternity parties , and whole corps of engineers who arrive to work on Segways.

Now, that stereotype is being scrutinized in court -- again.

In a lawsuit filed last week in San Francisco, former Twitter employee Peter H. Taylor is charging the company with wrongful termination, claiming a "substantially younger" supervisor made derogatory comments about his age.

Taylor, who is 57, says he was canned without notice despite performing his duties in "an exemplary manner." Twitter duly replaced him with several employees in their 20s and 30s, according to the complaint.

This case isn't without precedents. Computer scientist Brian Reid sued Google in 2004, claiming the company discriminates against personnel who are over 40. (Reid was 54 at the time he filed the complaint.) Reid didn't prevail, but he initiated a fierce debate in Silicon Valley over whether companies could tolerate anyone approaching the autumn of middle age. (The case ultimately settled for an undisclosed amount of money.)

Mark Zuckerberg roiled his elders in 2007 with his now-infamous speech to a Y Combinator startup at Stanford University. "Young people are just smarter," he said.

Taylor is seeking relief for all damages incurred, along with reimbursement for his attorneys' fees.

A Twitter spokesman says the case is without merit, "and we will vigorously defend ourselves against it."

Here is the complaint:

Taylor v Twitter

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About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.


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