IBM is defending itself from yet another round of accusations on its firing practices. Just months after a ProPublica report said the technology giant had dismissed more than 20,000 workers older than 40 in the last five years, Yesterday, Bloomberg reports that IBM is facing another age discrimination lawsuit. The suit that follows heavily on the ProPublica report, alleges that the company systematically fired tens of thousands of older workers in recent years as part of an effort to “make the face of IBM younger.”
Shannon Liss-Riordan, a lawyer known for battling tech giants over mistreatment of their employees, filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan on behalf of three former IBM employees in their 50s and 60s. They claimed that the tech giant fired them earlier this year based on their age.
The three employees declare in the suit that “Over the last several years, IBM has been in the process of systematically laying off older employees in order to build a younger workforce,” The complaint also states that the company “discriminates against older workers” and “does not consider them for open positions.”
Ed Barbini (a spokesman for IBM) said in an emailed statement to multiple news outlets: “Changes in our workforce are about skills, not age,” “since 2010 there is no difference in the age of our U.S. workforce, but the skills profile of our employees has changed dramatically. That is why we have been and will continue investing heavily in employee skills and retraining — to make all of us successful in this new era of technology.’’
In the last decade, IBM has reportedly fired thousands of people in the U.S., Canada, and other high-wage jurisdictions -to cut costs and retool its workforce.
If the judge allows a class action lawsuit to proceed, it could lead to a drawn-out and costly court battle. IBM would potentially have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to its former employees.
To know more about this lawsuit, head over to Seattletimes.