Older workers in California and around the country have voiced complaints in recent years about age discrimination in the technology center. International Business Machines Corporation is known more for blue suits than beanbag chairs, but it too has been accused of treating its older workers unfairly. On Dec. 21, a 57-year-old former IBM sales director filed a lawsuit alleging the New York-based company has a longstanding and pervasive culture of discrimination that targets employees over 50 years of age.
The woman, who started working for IBM in 1984 and worked her way up from a customer service position to senior management, claims in her lawsuit that she was fired just one month before she was due to receive a $573,000 bonus. She was eventually paid $20,000 according to the litigation.
IBM has traditionally been viewed as a company that is fiercely loyal to its employees, but the woman says that things changed significantly when a new chief executive officer was appointed in 2012. According to the woman, the new CEO ordered age-based reorganizations every six months that resulted in thousands of workers over the age of 50 being let go. The lawsuit claims that these reorganizations were part of a deliberate and coordinated effort to rid the company of older workers in favor of millennials.
Cases involving workplace age discrimination are often resolved based on a judge’s interpretation of the evidence before they reach a jury. This is why attorneys with experience in this area may advise those considering such a lawsuit to gather as much supporting documentation as they can before taking action. Attorneys might also encourage employers to resolve age discrimination cases quietly by reminding them of how damaging protracted court battles could be to their reputations.
Source: Westfair, Ex-employee accuses IBM of ‘longstanding and pervasive’ age discrimination, Bill Heltzel, Jan. 3, 2019