Three former employees have filed an age discrimination lawsuit against the tech giant IBM. The women claim that they were fired due to the company’s desire to build a younger workforce. In support of this conclusion, a 2018 ProPublica report stated that the company has fired more than 20,000 employees older than 40 in the last six years.
However, a spokesman for IBM claims that the layoffs over the years have nothing to do with age, but rather an attempt to acquire an updated skill set, which is not illegal. He goes on to say that since 2010, IBM’s overall employee age profile has changed very little.
There are several other matters that will likely be taken into account in this suit. IBM had many of it’s laid-off employees sign forms agreeing that they would not sue the company. Further, complaints have been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
As more employees likely join the lawsuit, it is likely going to be a long, drawn-out process.
Identifying Age Discrimination
The IBM lawsuit illustrates that fact that age discrimination is not only hard for employees to identify, but proving age discrimination to a court of law is a difficult task. Although it is not illegal for a company to seek employees with different skills, downsize their workforce, or cut costs, older workers often pay the price.
For example, company cutbacks can include laying off higher paid workers or eliminating positions entirely. Unfortunately, older workers would naturally be on staff the longest, working in positions that may no longer be needed.
Additionally, older workers are usually the most experienced, and are therefore the highest paid. Simply put, firing older workers is not always indicative of age discrimination.
Complicating the matter even further is that some employers may not even be aware that the assumptions they have about potential employees is illegal. For example, employers may opt to hire a younger employee because they inaccurately assume the following are true:
- Will work for less money
- More stamina or faster work pace
- Updated industry knowledge
Age Discrimination in Employment Act
In 1967, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was passed to protect those 40 and up from age discrimination in the workplace. However, age discrimination and harassment still occur in every field of employment.
In fact, age discrimination is not just about being passed up for a job, it can also take the form of:
- Increasingly poor performance reviews
- Lack of career development opportunities
- Failure to be promoted
- Forced retirement
Even more troubling is what is considered “old” in the tech industry is ten years below the national average. What this means is that workers who are 35 and over are now at an increased risk of age discrimination in this industry.
Middletown Employment Discrimination Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Advocate for Victims of Workplace Age Discrimination
If you need more information about discrimination in the workplace, or you feel that you are the target of age discrimination, an experienced Middletown employment discrimination lawyer at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. can answer your questions and guide you to your next steps.
Call our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, our Newark office at 973-878-9040, or contact us at 888-396-0736 or online for a free consultation. We represent clients throughout New Jersey.