As the average age of working adults has started to increase, so have the number of age-related discrimination claims. Incidents of ageism are not always overt, and many victims have a difficult time recognizing that they are being subjected to true discrimination. Unfortunately, one of the common consequences of workplace ageism is that victims become less confident in their ability to perform their job functions, causing them to quit. Many victims of ageism are unaware of laws meant to protect them, and some employers are not willing to inform employees of their rights. Recently, IBM has joined the ranks of companies accused of ageism and failing to give their employees legally required disclosures.
Founded almost 100 years ago, International Business Machine Corporation (IBM) is one of the most well-known technology companies in the world. Providing hardware, software, consulting, and other services, the company dominated the technology industry throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The majority of the company’s workforce was hired during the computer boom of the 1980s and remained working for IBM until the company decided to begin cutting jobs. During these job cuts, employees who were 40 and older were targeted for job cuts with private company memos stating the company wanted a more youthful team.
IBM is accused of targeting older employees for job cuts and ignoring the performance and history of the employees in question. To avoid being accused of possible bias or discrimination, IBM did not provide employees with legally required information that allows potential victims to determine if they are the victim of age-related bias. IBM is also accused of forcing employees to sign waivers that prohibited them from initiating legal action on their own or with the help of others. Employees who were targeted for layoffs were encouraged to apply for other positions within the company, but hiring managers were told not to consider these employees for open positions.
Not providing staff with legal disclosures and forcing employees to resign or take early retirements initially protected IBM from providing public disclosure requirements. In some cases, the retirements were not “voluntary,” and after strongly objecting to their treatment, IBM employees began contacting the United States Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOCC) with their concerns.
Several employees from Colorado and other states with IBM locations are now seeking justice. Coretta Roddey, a 49-year-old IBM employee who was laid off, stated that she applied over 50 times for positions she was more than qualified for only to have her applications ignored or turned down. This treatment encouraged Roddey and others to file age discrimination complaints with EEOC that have led to the initiation of a probe into IBM’s practices.
If you suspect that you have been denied employment or forced to resign because of your age, contact a discrimination attorney immediately. The team at HKM Employment Attorneys understands how frustrating being denied employment in your field can be. We are dedicated to providing you with the support and legal advice you deserve. Contact our conveniently located Denver, Colorado office today to schedule an initial consultation.