There was something about Cheryl Fillekes that Google really liked. Over a seven-year period, Fillekes was contacted by Google recruiters four different times for jobs. In each case, she did well enough in the phone interviews to get an invitation for an in-person interview.
Despite all these interviews, Fillekes never got a job offer, and Google is now getting an age discrimination lawsuit.
Fillekes joined a lawsuit filed in April by Robert Heath, who was 60 in 2011 when he applied for a job at Google. The age discrimination complaint was amended recently to include Fillekes.
The amended lawsuit also alleges that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received "multiple complaints of age discrimination by Google, and is currently conducting an extensive investigation." An EEOC spokesman said the agency can't, by law, discuss whether any investigation is taking place.
Google was not immediately available for comment.
According to the lawsuit, Fillekes started programming as a high school student in 1976. She earned a bachelor of science in engineering from Cornell University in 1982, and in 1990 earned a Ph.D. in geophysics from the University of Chicago. She was also a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard. She specializes in Unix and Linux system programming.
Today, Fillekes' LinkedIn profile describes her career as a "cheese maker at Mohawk Drumlin Creamery." In 2014, "I bought a dairy farm in upstate NY. I designed and built an on-farm creamery to produce farmstead sheep's milk cheese and yogurt," she wrote.
Fillekes could not be reached for comment at deadline.
According to the lawsuit, a Google recruiter contacted Fillekes in 2007 for possible employment in either Google's engineering and testing group or its software development group. There were a series of phone interviews and an in-person interview at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California. In 2010, a different Google recruiter contacted her and said that from her previous interview scores, she was an ideal candidate.
This happened again in 2011 and late 2013. In each case, a Google recruiter contacted her and there were a series of phone interviews, concluding with in-person interviews, but no job offer.
"Despite being very well qualified for each of the positions she interviewed for, Google did not hire her for any position after she attended her in-person interviews," the lawsuit states. The lawsuit also alleges that Google favors workers who are under the age 40 and hires them "in significantly greater numbers."
In April, in response to Heath's complaint, Google said that it "believes that the facts will show that this case is without merit and we intend to defend ourselves vigorously."