IBM Is Being Sued for Age Discrimination

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by Megalith, Sep 22, 2018.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    Spokesmen for the once-dominant tech giant say “skills, not age,” are what determines who works at IBM, but a class-action lawsuit filed this week on behalf of three employees says otherwise. As outlined by ProPublica in March, the company has cut thousands of senior workers over the past few years in what appears to be a clear example of age discrimination: despite being much better qualified, older staff would regularly be the first ones out.

    Paul Henry, a 61-year-old IBM sales and technical specialist who loved being on the road, had just returned to his Columbus home from a business trip in August 2016 when he learned he’d been let go. When he asked why, he said an executive told him to “keep your mouth shut and go quietly.” “If you’re over 55, forget about preparing for retirement,” he said in an interview. “You have to prepare for losing your job and burning through every cent you’ve saved just to get to retirement.”
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2018
  2. ManofGod

    ManofGod [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I am seriously started to get sick of this greedy crap. Yes, trickle down does work, government interference never works but, laws are there for this very reason and I hope they take IBM to the bank. (And anyone else who would do the same.) The worse thing is, the same people who are let go will get a call from IBM asking them for help when the new folks do not have a clue what they are doing and screw things up.
     
  3. cyberguyz

    cyberguyz Gawd

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    I was retired from those guys (Canadian division) at 57 after just under 30 years. I did however get a decent retirement health package (in force til I hit 65 and the government drug plan kicks in), a not so pretty watch and with a couple years' salary...
    Personally I was pretty glad to be retired. Trust me you do NOT want to be development support guy when the server middleware in a company like Boeing or Toyota came crashing down. The cost of a system like that being down a couple of days is in the millions so they look at you to fix it. Talk about shit hitting fans :eek: A normal human being can only really handle about 5-7 years of that kind of bullshit happening on a weekly basis before burning out. I was at that threshold when my "resource action" (a nice way of saying GTFO!) came down.

    Loyalty in the workplace both from the employer to employee AND employee to employer went the way of the dodo about 20 years ago.

    So ... yeah.
     
  4. tetris42

    tetris42 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Okay, I want a t-shirt of that image.
     
  5. tetris42

    tetris42 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yeah, trickle down works, this is exactly how it works.
     
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  6. ZiggyDeath

    ZiggyDeath Limp Gawd

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    Unless I was facing an insurmountable economic situation, I'd tell them to go pound sand. Or give them such a ridiculous counter-offer (like all missing pay loss, and then some) that they'd never bite.
     
  7. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    This is not trickle down.

    This is crony capitalism, were greedy companies can ignore the employment laws, and import plenty of cheap labor because they've paid off the politicians.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
  8. FlawleZ

    FlawleZ Gawd

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    This is fairly common among bigger companies who have employees with many years with the company. They cost much more to employ than that Jr developer or 1st line manager a couple years out of college and they dont have to deal with them pulling retirement. Even union companies like AT&T do this frequently. It's irritating but sadly they get away with this type of thing more times than not.
     
  9. wizdum

    wizdum [H]ard|Gawd

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  10. sabrewolf732

    sabrewolf732 2[H]4U

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    There's a large IBM facility local to me and nearly everyone I've spoken with says they do this regularly. Experience costs too much money.
     
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  11. ManofGod

    ManofGod [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Especially when it can line the CEOs pockets instead.
     
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  12. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot [H]ard|Gawd

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    And this is why we keep reading about stupid data breaches, design flaws and such. And why so many websites really suck from a usability standpoint. Sure, the 25 year old wonder coder that knows the latest gee-wiz framework can speak the bright shiny lingo but often can't code up a simple but secure data input screen. We had one of those wonder kids show up at our site when we had signed up for the super premier deluxe Microsoft support plan. We were having DNS performance issues with our Active Directory. He flew in from MS HQ. The only thing he knew how to do was hookup a laptop and run some canned scripts. Needless to say, our problem wasn't fixed and we didn't renew that support package.
     
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  13. DejaWiz

    DejaWiz Oracle of Unfortunate Truths

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    When these corporations weasel out of having to pay retirement pensions, both the board members AND shareholders win.
     
  14. seanreisk

    seanreisk Limp Gawd

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    (trying to kick away the soap boxes clamoring around me)
    Trickle down does work, it's just never been implemented. Going back to the time of Reagan, the term 'Trickle-Down Economics' has been applied to tax cuts for the rich and for corporations, but those laws never had anything to do with actual trickle-down economics.

    The idea of trickle-down economics is that the rich will return some of their wealth to the economy, and that their lifestyle / standard of living will reflect their economic status. This has no bearing on modern society, where status is based on power, gross wealth or celebrity, and not on standard of living. Today, rather than living a 'wealthy' lifestyle, the rich are more likely to plow their excess income into gaining more wealth, thereby doing the opposite of trickle-down economics.

    Real trickle-down economics would work something like this: You make in excess of $300,000 per year, and your taxes are (supposed to be) around $130,000. If you want, you can hire a maid, provided that you meet the following criteria:

    1. Your maid is an American citizen.
    2. You pay a proper wage.
    3. You provide health care, vacation and sick days.
    4. Your maid only works 40 hours per week.

    If you meet the four points above, trickle-down would say that you get to deduct the maid's salary and health care costs from your taxes. You still pay out the same amount, but you get a free maid, and the economy gets another worker on the employment side. THAT is trickle-down economics, and yes, it is directly tied to income tax, but that's not the way that the scummy bastards in congress keep implementing it.

    You might say that it doesn't make sense to put in a system that gives a rich person a maid but takes that money away from the government's tax revenue, but money that flows quickly into the economy does a lot to heat up the economy, and the U.S. government does a really poor job of distributing tax dollars in a way that helps the economy.

    --------

    That was a very good article, I enjoyed it. As for IBM, I'd like to see their entire board of directors, major shareholders, senior management and legal counsel get kicked in the nuts. IBM has been into shady shit since the 80's, and they've played a dirty game with my university several times. When I first started working at my university we were an all-IBM shop; five years ago we were at the point where there was not a stitch of IBM equipment on campus, but now Life Sciences has a sequencer that uses some type of IBM Power Edge.
     
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  15. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    It's also very short sighted.
    It might boost the bottom line in the short term, but eventually the quality of the work goes down and customers take their business elsewhere.

    I used to be the Sr. inside customer support for a networking company. Several large aerospace companies contracted with us for support.
    Early on, the product we supported had a limited number of resellers that could support it, and the company made good money providing support.
    Eventually the software company decided to expand their sales and started letting many large computer retail chains sell the product.
    Sales margins fell, and we started loosing support contracts with these large companies since their contract went out to bid.
    Our bids where undercut by several of the "new" retailers.

    After losing several large contracts, one of our largest contracts came up for bid.
    The owner decided that if we lost this bid, it was no longer going to be profitable to provide these support services.
    The bid summited was so low, we would have been lucky to make a profit off it.

    The lowest bid was about half what we submitted.
    Our company let the few remaining contracts expire over the next few months and we stopped supporting and selling the product.

    About 5 months later we get a call from one of the Sr. support people at that aerospace company. They wanted to hire us to come out and fix a number of problems their "low bidder" hadn't been able to fix. The "low bidder" would send people out to work on servers who had never even seen the network OS that was running on the servers.

    We had to tell them sorry, but we no longer work with that product, and I explained why. I doubt the management at that company ever figured out why they had so many network problems.

    5 years later this network product was largely gone from most of these companies. Mainly because Microsoft was going into these companies and giving away copies Windows server, but also because these companies could no longer get the level of support they needed for the previous product.
     
  16. wizdum

    wizdum [H]ard|Gawd

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    Have you looked at any American corp lately? Thats pretty much how they all act. Quick paydays, not legacy building.
     
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  17. seanreisk

    seanreisk Limp Gawd

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    Furiously raises hand in the air.

    "I know! I know! I know! 'What is Novell Netware'?"
     
  18. codebasher

    codebasher [H]Lite

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    "The idea of trickle-down economics is that the rich will return some of their wealth to the economy"

    The rich become rich by NOT doing that. Their wealth is far better spent buying politicians, dodging tax and ensuring cash trickles from the poor to their pockets and not the other way around.
     
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  19. seanreisk

    seanreisk Limp Gawd

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    Apparently you missed the point. My post implied that the rich (who, by definition, have an income well beyond their needs) are not using their wealth in the economy, but instead are using their wealth to acquire more wealth. The concept of trickle-down economics is not implemented by the rich, it's implemented by the government. For trickle-down economics to work, the government needs to close the loopholes in the tax law and then use the original core deductions to encourage the rich to use their money in the economy.

    This has never happened - instead, the Reagan government applied the name 'trickle-down economics' to a major tax cut, while closing very few loopholes and providing no incentive for the wealthy to spend their money. Economists kept trying to point out that the tax cut was not, in fact, 'trickle-down economics,' but the politicians used the term so vigorously that it eventually became synonymous with the tax cut. Politicians in the Reagan era took the name of a forward-thinking economic principle and applied it to a gift to the rich. The Trump administration has done the same, although not so vigorously.
     
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  20. tetris42

    tetris42 [H]ardness Supreme

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    You have a logic problem right at the start here. You don't know if it works if it's never been implemented. You can only prove something works without trying it if it's a mathematical formula. The psychology of the population and how people decide to use their money to change the system is not a mathematical law. You can say 2 + 2 = 4, but it's more like 2 + x = 4, except "x" has the ability to change "2" to whatever number it wants. Human behavior doesn't follow strict adherence like that, hence the need for actual testing.

    What we KNOW is the closest implementation we've ever had to trickle down, works spectacularly... for the wealthy.
     
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  21. Dekoth-E-

    Dekoth-E- [H]ardness Supreme

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    IBM isn't the only one, just possibly the biggest one pulling this crap. This is becoming a rampant problem in the Tech sector and frankly you become a target for elimination around 40.
     
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  22. Wrecked Em

    Wrecked Em [H]ere for the GangBang

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    I think the biggest driver of this is healthcare costs. Old people are expensive AF to keep alive. Old people with desk jobs, even more so.
    Keeping their workforce young keeps their insurance premiums lower.
     
  23. seanreisk

    seanreisk Limp Gawd

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    Uhf. Ok, I could state it differently: I could say, "trickle-down does work," and then say, "because it's based on economic observations when money is injected into an economy, it's based on observations about the speed at which money moves in fertile middle class economies, it's based on the observations between a 'hot' economy, where money changes hands very quickly, versus a 'cold' economy where money sits still, it's based on observations of the effects on the economy of the bond market versus the stock market, and it's based on the methods used to control inflation by adjusting the federal funds rate." These are all known principles, and they've been applied during economic downturns or recessions (or even depressions) for the last 80 years. I could then also say, "Economists coined the term 'trickle-down' to describe the slowing of money moving from the wealthy down to the lower classes," and then I could talk about a bunch of statistics from the birth of the industrial age to the start of the information age, but you're probably not interested in that, and anyway it basically says that the rich never really decided to horde their wealth, they just ran out of reasons to use it. I could finish with, "trickle-down economics is the study of how money moving from the wealthy to the lower classes has a greater effect on the economy than the surface value of the money moved," and on and on, along with a discussion about the different ways that economists suggested this could brought about. THAT is trickle-down economics. The principle is sound, economists study it all the time and governments all over the world use these principles during recessions. BUT, getting to the point where we pass laws to encourage this activity ... has never been implemented.

    No. Because you've never had a 'closest' implementation, or any implementation. The only thing you've seen is a tax cut for the rich that was called a 'trickle-down' tax cut. They could have just as easily called it, "The Sunshine Unicorn Tax Cut To Make Poor People Happy," and it would meant the same thing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
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  24. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot [H]ard|Gawd

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    I think for most employees, the higher cost of health insurance premiums for those over 50 is far less then the salary difference between 5 years experience and 35. And what a lot of companies are really trying to avoid is the retirement cost. Fire someone at 55, most likely they will be forced to cash out their retirement plan due to poor financial savings and that saves the company BIG bucks as they avoid having to pay out retirement payments for the next 20~30 years assuming that employee was kept, retired and lived to the fairly normal these days age of 85+. Most retirement plans were originally setup on the premise that you retire at 65 and die around 72. Folks retiring early and living long have really screwed up the retirement plan finances.
     
  25. tetris42

    tetris42 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yeah, that's accurate enough, although the term has been positively co-opted by politics now to essentially mean "lessen regulation and taxes on the wealthy and prosperity will ensue" as you more or less stated.

    So people are comparing against THAT, where it seems much more obvious that injecting money directly at the bottom or close to it tends to have a better impact on the economy v. going to the top. It's an apples to oranges debate compared to what you're talking about. For example, when ManofGod was saying trickle down works, I'm not sure he was referring to a hot v. cold economy so much as incentivizing the owner class further.

    Yeah, no argument there. They're going to seek maximum profit seeking behavior, and that rarely means taking risk and investing on new industry and creating jobs compared to what you can get from speculation.
     
  26. Lumpus

    Lumpus Limp Gawd

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    Yep....
    The last company I worked for purged every single employee over the age of forty, calling us 'old and slow', despite us having the most knowledge and experience.
    My wife's company did the same thing too, a year later.
    Being over 50 now, we can't even get interviews :(
     
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  27. cyberguyz

    cyberguyz Gawd

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    This is correct. Historically company executives had to present 10-15 year growth plans to their stockholders. About 20 years or so ago this changed to 5-10 year plans. 10 years ago it became 2-5 year plans. You see where this is going...

    Today execs are working to that 2-5 year timeline. That means they have to turn their products around in record times. To do that they have several of their internal development departments compete for pieces of developing that product. Places like IBM have dozens of product development teams all over the world - China, Ukraine, U.S., Canada, etc. Product version iterations went from every year, to every 6 months to every 3 months. The ones that come forward with the shortest development timeframe & lowest cost get the "contract". As you can imagine places like China and India that can throw a shitton of people at a project compared to the U.S. and Canada are some of the favorites to do any development. Meanwhile back at home your department is competing with those offshore departments which means you have to do that work faster and less cost than those places paying their people peanuts. Older folks in the workforce who have huge amounts of experience and can develop the highest quality products are thrown under the bus in favor of the younger ones that can put the product out there faster. As long as the product release kinda works, it is a win. It doesn't matter if it works well, takes the least resources or has less problems - there are support teams to deal with the after launch headaches. As long as the products are being released on time for the least money is all that matters. Where does that leave the over-40s that are a whole lot smarter, but not as fast?

    there's the door.jpg
     
  28. Burticus

    Burticus 2[H]4U

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    The new Corporate American Way. Lay off or otherwise get rid of your loyal experienced "older" staff and hire college kids for 1/3 the money. They'll figure things out fast enough... right?

    The IBM techs that come out to my datacenter have all been converted to contractors. A couple of the older ones (the "senior" technicians, literally) just vanished. I asked about some of them, and was told "we're not allowed to speak of them".

    I'm kind of in the middle... I'm 46, and yeah I might not be as willing to work 100 hours a week like my young whipper snapper self did, but I still put in 50+ a week depending on project needs. I know I'm getting slower about learning new technologies (and in IT that's all it is anymore, a new flavor of the month every month) but I can do normal operational activities with my eyes closed. It would take me months or years to get a college kid newb up to speed on everything. I know it will happen eventually. Hell in my last job we had to train our Indian replacements directly and write documentation. No desire to go through that again. Train someone for weeks and weeks with a major language barrier in between... then POOF they're gone and you have to start over with new guys. Happened over and over. I just started writing documentation and told them to RTFM.

    My goal now is to be totally debt free (and I mean paying my house off too) before I'm 50. But I see myself working until 60 unless crap like this happens.

    Cut off everything from your resume older than 15 years, lose the dates on your job experiences. And dye your hair for interviews. That's my plan. I'm prematurely grey so I look a lot older than I am, so next time I'll be springing for a little Just For Men at walmart before my next interview.
     
  29. Azphira

    Azphira [H]ard|Gawd

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    I'm glad I have my job until I die.
     
  30. Burticus

    Burticus 2[H]4U

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    USPS?
     
  31. clockdogg

    clockdogg Gawd

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    The bottom line is... getting old sucks. Don't let it happen to you.

    Happy I left IBM and M$ when still young enough to use them on a resume. Having matured (only physically), I'm an unpaid-up member of the Freelancers Union where age is not the question, only price and terms.

    However, one thing can improve with time... your [H] status. Today, after over a decade of Limpness, I've achieved the 2nd stage of pure [H]ardness. I'd pat myself on the back, but at my age it's not recommended. :D
     
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  32. DigitalGriffin

    DigitalGriffin [H]ardness Supreme

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    My worst case scenario has me being let go at 55. I then work the next 12 years on some union job like railroading or ups. I'm prepared for it. But I'm counting on my brains saving me and keeping me in the long haul with skills in ai and iot.

    Even if I have to retire at 55 and work at Walmart or selling cars I would have enough extra cash to scrape by if but just barely.
     
  33. Motley

    Motley 2[H]4U

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    IBM is total and complete dogshit company, I really don't know how in the world they are still in business.

    I used to work at IBM just 6 months ago, contractor. They pay was so low, and they made us take furlough days off. I got sick of it, now I'm working at level3 and I make $20k more per year!

    IBM can suck a dick.
     
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  34. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    Sorry, but you are incorrect, it was Banyan.
     
  35. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    As someone who is closer to retirement than to 40, this is a real issue.
    I could go out and find another IT job that pays more than I currently make, probably with less responsibilities.
    However, I'd be the low man on the job, with less vacation time, and would be the 1st to be let go if business slowed down.
    While more money would be nice, there are other things more important at this point in my life.

    My current job is secure, as long as the company is in business.
    I do everything from buying and imaging laptop, setting up phones, installing servers, fixing printers, and setting up firewalls. I am the IT department. :D
    Hours are reasonably flexible and my boss leaves the technical details to me.
     
  36. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    Getting old isn't that bad, it sure beats the alternative. :p
     
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  37. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    Good advice.
    I've given the same advice many times. Lucky I haven't needed it myself. If I colored my hair, I'd look at least 10 years younger.
    (It helps if you have a full head of hair, as coloring what's left of your receding hairline doesn't help)

    Just don't start talking about how you started with DOS 1.0 or Netware 2.0 as it will give away your age :p
     
  38. clockdogg

    clockdogg Gawd

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    Just you wait, young man, the alternatives may not seem so bad. :LOL:
     
  39. Todd Walter

    Todd Walter Limp Gawd

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    The formula they sent out to the managers in the '90s was: if ( (years_of_service + age) > 70 ) turf_em();

    As someone else noted above re the loss of experienced staff, they have had to bring back a contingent of retirees as third-party contractors to train the remaining staff more than once. I don't see them weaseling out of this; everybody knew this is how it worked.
     
  40. M76

    M76 [H]ardness Supreme

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    One thing has always bugged me. If they hire older people instead of younger ones isn't that age discrimination as well?