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Summary:

A data manager for Twitter says he asked for additional help while he underwent a medical procedure, but that the company instead chose to fire him and hire several people in their 20′s and 30′s.

Peter Taylor, who managed Twitter’s data center expansion until he was terminated last September, claims the company let him go because of his age and because his treatments for kidney stones left him unable to perform additional duties.

In a lawsuit filed in San Francisco last week, Taylor said Twitter violated a California law that prohibits discriminating against people on the basis of age or disability. He is claiming an unspecified amount of money based on lost salary and stock options, and for emotional distress.

Peter Taylor's Twitter profile picture. Source: https://twitter.com/Movieman109

Peter Taylor’s Twitter profile picture. Source: https://twitter.com/Movieman109

The case of Taylor, whose LinkedIn profile shows he previously worked at companies like LucasFilms and Sprint, may strike a chord with older technology employees who work in an industry where the archetypal figure is a 20-something who works all night. Recent exposés of Silicon Valley culture report a boom among plastic surgeons who help people appear young enough to fit in.

For its part, Twitter has denied the allegations, which were reported by SFWeekly, as “without merit.” But here are some more details based on the lawsuit filing:

  • In Twitter’s performance evaluations, Taylor met or exceeded expectations since he began the job in early 2011, and the company rewarded him with 20,000 restricted stock options.
  • Taylor had surgery to remove kidney stones in May and August of 2013, and had to attend medical visits. Taylor claims he was fired in September 2013 and replaced with “several employees in their 20s and 30s”
  • Taylor said he continued to work full-time the entire time he was employed, but that he spent less time than usual during the medical episodes, leading him to ask Twitter to supply an extra worker.
  • Instead of supplying him a helper, Taylor said Twitter increased his duties and then fired him without explanation.

This is of course just Taylor’s version of events so it’s hard for now to speculate what exactly happened. But whatever the situation, it likely took courage for Taylor to divulge medical details from his personal life, and to directly raise issues of age in Silicon Valley’s youth-obsessed culture. I’ve reached out to Twitter for additional comment and will update if I hear back.

Here’s the complaint:

Taylor v Twitter