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IBM reportedly broke discrimination laws by laying off older employees

ONE TIME COMPUTER FLOGGER IBM has been accused of ignoring age discrimination laws in a bid to push out employees over 40 and replace them with a younger, fitter and less-wise workforce.  

According to a report co-published by Publica and Mother Jones, IBM has been said to have sacked around 20,000 US employees aged over 40 over the past five years, though the actual number is believed to be “almost certainly higher”.

Some of those workers, who had careers with IBM spanning decades, saw their jobs either given to “less-experienced and lower-paid workers” or sent overseas.

The investigative-style report arrives on the back of a questionnaire completed by over a thousand ex-IBMers who shared their experiences, interviews, official company documents, and more.

Some of this gathered information seems to point to the reason for the cuts being IBM’s transition away from the good old PC maker to a cloud and data analytics company. The report suggests that it was this shift which made IBM feel compelled to reach a “correct seniority mix” and “shift headcount mix towards a greater percentage of early professional hires”.

This was according to presentations shown to senior executives at the company, including the VP of human resources, in being made aware of the report and its studies. 

IBM has responded to the report. It said in a statement: “We are proud of our company and our employees’ ability to reinvent themselves era after era, while always complying with the law.

“Our ability to do this is why we are the only tech company that has not only survived but thrived for more than 100 years.”

Nevertheless, it’s safe to say the former workers who were interviewed do not agree.

In the report, they stated that their performance reviews suddenly became much harder once IBM started focusing on pivoting its business towards the cloud and AI, with some feeling forced to accept an early retirement package when the alternative was being let go.

While IBM encouraged some of those affected to apply for jobs elsewhere in the firm, ProPublica found communications internally between staff actually deterred managers from rehiring them. µ

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