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Years of Age Discrimination at IBM Uncovered by the EEOC

  • 26 October, 2020

Ed Miyoshi is just one of many workers claiming to be laid off at IBM due to age discrimination. Miyoshi worked at IBM’s Hopewell Junction, New York, facility for 35 years, and was fired at the age of 57. Soon after, Miyoshi was rehired, however, not to his old position but instead as a lower paid contractor.

IBM , widely known as a multinational technology and consulting company, is currently under the spotlight after numerous accounts like those of Miyoshi, invoked the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to step in and investigate.

Recently, the EEOC has concluded their investigation in which they confirmed that IBM was indeed engaging in systematic age discrimination between 2013 and 2018. In their investigation the EEOC reports that IBM consistently let go of older workers by telling them that “their skills were out of date, only to be brought back as contract workers at a lower rate of pay with fewer benefits.”

Moreover, the EEOC’s investigation also “uncovered top down messaging from IBM’s highest ranks directing managers to engage in an aggressive approach to significantly reduce the headcount of older workers to make room for” younger ones.

After the EEOC’s findings on IBM’s age discrimination practices, the EEOC is now obligated to mediate an out-of-court settlement between IBM and its ex-workers. If the agency fails to mediate an out-of-court settlement then the EEOC has the right to pursue a suit against the company.

Employment law experts have commented that IBM could be facing millions of dollars in settlement payments or in a federal lawsuit. This high number is also due to the fact that IBM might be held accountable of the age discrimination they perpetrated to more than 6,000 ex-IBM employees.

Former appellate lawyer for the EEOC and current employment law professor at the University of South Carolina, Joseph Seiner, states that the “the number of people EEOC cites in making its determination and the details it provides indicate the agency is taking this case very seriously.”

In March of 2018, ProPublica’s own investigation found that from the U.S. employees IBM laid off in the past 5 years 60% of them were age 40 or over. ProPublica also previously found that IBM created a point system and other methods specifically to get rid of older worker, even though some of these older workers were rated as high performers.

IBM, in response to the EEOC’s findings, released a statement though their communications Vice President Edward Barbini denying that the company discriminated against its older workers. The statement goes on to sat that  “IBM makes decisions based on the needs of its business units, not age. We will continue to defend this matter vigorously”

After the EEOC’s investigation found that IBM did in fact participate in age discrimination Myoshi has come to comment that this finding was not a “huge shock” to him and adds “Im glad somebody’s finally taking a close look” at IBM.

Source: ProPublica

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