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IBM Laid Off Thousands of Older Workers in a Deliberate Campaign


rasbridge

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Mar 22, 2018
 

IBM is a giant of computing history, having played a crucial role in the advent of the personal computer and designing what is objectively the best keyboard ever made. But as the monolithic company has been throwing its weight behind the Watson project, it may have been doing something much less laudable behind the scenes. According to a joint report byMother Jones and ProPublica, IBM has been targeting older workers in a series of discriminatory and potentially illegal layoffs. 

According to the in-depth report, IBM has laid off some 20,000 employees aged 40 years and up, with older and more senior employees making up 60 percent of cuts overall in the past five years alone. Moreover, the investigation found, the move was apparently intentional, explicitly referenced in internal documents that made note of attempts to "correct seniority mix" and referring to more senior employees as "gray hairs" and "old heads" in training documentation. 

From the report: 

Among ProPublica’s findings, IBM:
  • Denied older workers information the law says they need in order to decide whether they’ve been victims of age bias, and required them to sign away the right to go to court or join with others to seek redress.
  • Targeted people for layoffs and firings with techniques that tilted against older workers, even when the company rated them high performers. In some instances, the money saved from the departures went toward hiring young replacements.
  • Converted job cuts into retirements and took steps to boost resignations and firings. The moves reduced the number of employees counted as layoffs, where high numbers can trigger public disclosure requirements.
  • Encouraged employees targeted for layoff to apply for other IBM positions, while quietly advising managers not to hire them and requiring many of the workers to train their replacements.
  • Told some older employees being laid off that their skills were out of date, but then brought them back as contract workers, often for the same work at lower pay and fewer benefits.

This sort of discrimination, ProPublica notes, has been illegal since the 1950s with the passage of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which originally limited the acceptable bounds of age discrimination to matters of physical fitness but protections have come under fire through court cases in the following years. 

You can read the exhaustive report here.

 

Source:  https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/a19564692/ibm-reportedly-laid-of-thousands-of-older-workers-in-a-deliberate-campaign/

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It also happened way back in the early 1990's - I left after completing 24 years of service in 1993 - anyone over 40 years of age was targeted with a package - my brother left after completing 27 years of service in 1991 - the leaving packages were quite good as was the pension enhancement .I retired at that time aged 46 :D 

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These days, technology is changing so fast that it is really hard to keep up.  Unfortunately this translates to the younger the person the better they are in adopting to the new techniques and methods than the old.  So for high tech companies to satisfy the needs of the business and to stay in business the motto is "out with the old and in with the new".  To the betterment of IBM 's reputation they do take care of their long time employees with a good package.

This same thing happened to me with a major investment Bank on Wall Street.  I cannot complain since after 29 years of dedicated service,  I got a really good retirement package.

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