March 22, 2018
IBM engages in systematic discrimination against older workers, according to an investigation by ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative journalism organization.
As the high-tech market became more challenging, IBM "reacted with a strategy that, in the words of one confidential planning document, would 'correct seniority mix,'" according to the report, published in conjunction with a feature from Mother Jones magazine titled "Cutting 'Old Heads' at IBM."
IBM "slashed its U.S. workforce by as much as three-quarters from its 1980s peak, replacing a substantial share with younger, less-experienced and lower-paid workers and sending many positions overseas. ProPublica estimates that in the past five years alone, IBM has eliminated more than 20,000 American employees ages 40 and over, about 60 percent of its estimated total U.S. job cuts during those years."
The report continues, "In making these cuts, IBM has flouted or outflanked U.S. laws and regulations intended to protect later-career workers from age discrimination, according to a ProPublica review of internal company documents, legal filings and public records, as well as information provided via interviews and questionnaires filled out by more than 1,000 former IBM employees."
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IBM "[t]argeted people for layoffs and firings with techniques that tilted against older workers, even when the company rated them high performers. In some instances, the money saved from the departures went toward hiring young replacements," ProPublica says.
In response to ProPublic's queries, an IBM spokesperson told the organization: "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," according to the report.
We have a query in to IBM this morning; we haven't heard back from them.
ProPublica alleges that IBM engaged in a strategic push to tilt the workforce toward millennials, as part of its shift to cloud services, big data analytics, mobile, security and social media.
— Mitch Wagner Editor, Enterprise Cloud, Light Reading
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