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Allegations of workplace discrimination or harassment can be extremely damaging, and employers in Tennessee and around the country often choose to settle these matters quickly and discretely to avoid protracted, costly and embarrassing litigation. According to media reports, Google has chosen to take this approach by agreeing to pay $11 million to settle a class action case. The lawsuit was filed by 227 people who say the California-based search giant discriminates against older employees and job seekers.

The case was initially brought by a woman who claims that she applied for employment at Google on four occasions but was unsuccessful every time. She alleges that she had ample qualifications and experience for the positions she applied for and was rejected solely because she was over 40 years of age. A Google representative denied the woman’s claims and said the company was committed to nurturing a diverse workplace and had strong policies in place to prevent all forms of discrimination.

After paying their legal fees and court costs, each of the plaintiffs expects to walk away with about $35,000. The settlement paperwork was given to a federal judge in San Francisco on July 19. In addition to compensation for the plaintiffs, the settlement includes funds that will be used to develop programs at Google designed to prevent future age discrimination.

The pressure to settle can be great when employers face a class action lawsuit, but the amount of compensation each of the plaintiffs receives is often fairly modest. Attorneys with experience in this area could assess the merits of a workplace discrimination claim and advise workers whether or not joining a class would be wise.