Twitter Hit with Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Silicon Valley fetishizes youth—the 20-something, white, over-worked male who will write code until his wrists tingle. That's just great, unless you happen to not be those things. Case in point: a new lawsuit against Twitter complains the company fired a 57-year-old employee because of illegal age and medical bias.

The suit was filed last week by Peter H. Taylor, Twitter's former Manager of Data Center Deployment. In it, his lawyers claims he was an exemplary employee, saying he "saved [Twitter] over 10 million dollars in the expansions of [its] data centers." But being 20 to 30 years senior of his co-workers proved to be too much for them, and they sent him on his way after two and a half years at the company.

On September 23, 2013, defendants terminated plaintiff's employment because of his age, as indicated by the following circumstances, among others: Plaintiff was 57 years old when he was terminated. He received the [Restricted Stock Units] just six months before his termination, and he received a meets-expectation evaluation just six weeks before his termination. He was terminated without warning, without notice, without explanation, and without an opportunity to discuss any concerns defendants might have. Plaintiff's supervisor made at least one critical remark about plaintiff's age. The persons defendants employ in positions similar to plaintiff's position are all substantially younger than plaintiff. Defendants replaced plaintiff with several employees in their 20's and 30's.

His firing curiously came just a month after Taylor underwent surgery for medical issues, which meant he couldn't put in the grueling hours startups expect of their workers.

In April 2013, plaintiff fell ill. He was diagnosed with kidney stones. Plaintiff had surgery to remove his kidney stones in May and August 2013 and visited his doctor a number of times before and after his surgeries. Plaintiff scheduled his surgeries and doctor visits so that he still worked full time for defendants, but he spent less time on that work than he normally did as a result of these surgeries and visits.

Taylor allegedly requested from Twitter "additionally persons to help him with his responsibilities" due to his medical disability. However, the suit says the company "refused to accommodate" his disability, declining to assign any assistance.

Instead, they assigned plaintiff additional work and demanded that he complete that work, as well as his other responsibilities, while he was disabled.

Twitter responded to the lawsuit with Silicon Valley's standard denial. A company spokesperson told SF Weekly "the case is without merit, 'and we will vigorously defend ourselves against it.'"

To contact the author of this post, please email kevin@valleywag.com.

[Photo: Getty]