IBM May Have Violated Age Discrimination Laws

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

  1. Montu

    Montu [H]ard DCOTM x4

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    According to a new report, IBM may have violated age discrimination laws as it downsized over the last several years. The report in question says IBM eliminated 20k American employees ages 40 and over. This accounted for a total of 60 percent of the estimated job cuts in the last 5 years. The report utilized internal IBM documents, legal filings, interviews and questionnaires of more than 1,000 former employees to reach its conclusion. While it's a long read, I recommend that you read it if this is something that bothers or concerns you because I'd bet money other companies are doing the same thing.

    Fifty years ago, Congress made it illegal with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or ADEA, to treat older workers differently than younger ones with only a few exceptions, such as jobs that require special physical qualifications. And for years, judges and policymakers treated the law as essentially on a par with prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation and other categories.
     
  2. viper1152012

    viper1152012 Gawd

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  3. velusip

    velusip [H]ard|Gawd

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    Sorry, you don't fit our corporate culture of hiring desperate, debt-heavy college grads who suffer from imposter syndrome and respond well to competition in the office and thus work obscenely long hours for under-market pay and are grateful to have such a job.
     
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  4. cjcox

    cjcox Gawd

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    We can cook goose over here too!
     
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  5. bugleyman

    bugleyman [H]ard|Gawd

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  6. brentsg

    brentsg [H]ard|Gawd

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    As a person that's moving toward the latter phase of my career, the stuff is really scary. My wife has been in the same job for almost 20 years, but now it's clearly time to move on. She can't even get interviews, usually on the basis of being "over qualified". Disregard that the job is exactly what she wants to do, and it pays better than the one she already has.. it's frustrating. They just want to get someone younger.

    All the tactics here are familiar to me though, and I'm sure it's going on everywhere. I worked at a couple of similar companies in management, and even if we spent hours/days/weeks carefully vetting our employees for "workforce reduction", when we sent the data up the management chain, it'd come back down totally modified (by people who never met any of the employees, no familiarity with their work) and with totally different results. My colleagues and I would have to look employees in the eye and bullshit them as if it was our decision who was leaving. I'm sure the actual criteria was based on age, benefits, retirement repercussions, etc. At the same time, management was telling everyone that the decisions were made on work merit alone and it was total bullshit.

    I took a stand and threatened to resign over one particular employee who had cancer, and who would have suffered particularly (more) difficult times. Won that small victory, but all it did was postpone the inevitable.
     
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  7. bugleyman

    bugleyman [H]ard|Gawd

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    Even so, good for you! (y)
     
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  8. Rahh

    Rahh [H]ard|Gawd

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    Wish they would do the same in Washington. ;)
     
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  9. wgm3446

    wgm3446 Gawd

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    So, older employees usually mean they've been there longer and paid more. So they pile on the same amount of work on a kid fresh out of college for difference of 2/3 the salary. Not surprising.
     
  10. darckhart

    darckhart Limp Gawd

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    Yes "overqualified" is the new keyword that lets you know it's definitely age discrimination. Even if you purposely avoid listing dates, they add up the "experience," look at your titles, and find some way to "over qualify" you.

    It makes no sense to me because I'd rather hire ONE individual with LOADS of experience and, you know, their great NETWORK, that I can tap into. I spend more money on undoing mistakes or handholding these "cheaper" college grads. What a waste of time and money.
     
  11. WhoBeDaPlaya

    WhoBeDaPlaya 2[H]4U

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    Too big to fail -> slap-on-the-wrist fine = cost of doing business
     
  12. It's simple: IBM needed to cut $xx,xxx,xxx from payroll. Who gets cut first? So as a manager making the decision, you can cut 2 underlings, or 1 older employee. The people who get paid the most are the older ones, despite their experience and loyalty.

    Loyalty doesn't get you anything in USA today. A Japanese company, yes. USA no.

    Well IBM gets what they pay for.
     
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  13. velusip

    velusip [H]ard|Gawd

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    I know that well. Both my parents and myself are experiencing precisely that. My mother was forced to quit and reapply for her own job at half the salary, and then job was given to a less qualified person at an even lower wage. My father was forced out and cheated out of a government pension too because he had a major spinal injury and couldn't work for the last year before retirement. The municipal government claimed it was from prior work (from 15 years before), fired him, and took his pension. I was laid off due to downsizing and outsourcing by a new CFO to appease investors -- at the time the CEO was disgusted and left his own company of 20 years over it. And now, we three are at the mercy of a get-rich-quick industry. I've been out of work for 10 years -- just working at minimum wage grocery stores and taking odd jobs and keeping my linux admin and programming skills sharp with personal projects. It fucking sucks.
     
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  14. Spaceninja

    Spaceninja [H]ard|Gawd

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    IBM's machines are good at tracking and getting rid of people........
     
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  15. WhoMe

    WhoMe Gawd

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    Age discrimination not something I ever thought about much (sure, "bad" but in the abstract) and than suddenly I got old. But my experience means I'm actually a better coder than I was when young (and back then in college my code was 25-50% shorter than the other students doing the same job), though I'm maybe a bit slower (well very slow since I'm retired but that's not what I mean ;) ). But I'm guessing (haven't read the link yet ;) ) this is just a money issue (save on retirement benefits and higher salaries), but I have to wonder how that balances out against the loss of talent and experience? I'd bet they aren't saving nearly as much as they think (but no way to prove that short of setting up an alternative universe).
     
  16. the-one1

    the-one1 2[H]4U

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    None of this matters to IBM. All it matters is the bottom line to their board and investors. If the company flops, the board members and investors just move on. The only people this affects are the employees.........which were just pawns in the money making machine.
     
  17. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    It's a balancing act. You need to customize your resume to the job opening.

    You need to make yourself look as young as possible, both physically and on paper.
    If you still have your hair, color it to get rid of most/all the grey.

    Remove the dates from your resume. Remove your older work experience, it's probably relevant anyways.

    If the job you are applying for pays more than you are currently making, yet they say you are "overqualified" then yes, it's likely age discrimination.
     
  18. velusip

    velusip [H]ard|Gawd

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    Well, it depends what sort of effect this has on the longevity of the company. It might not matter to those at the helm, but it could matter to potential competitors who are just taking up slack.

    A quick and lazy boost in margin via firing experience yields a payout of billions to investors who want to be rich today, but not reinvesting into the company means they have less confidence or concern for the future. Pawns are important.
     
  19. {NG}Fidel

    {NG}Fidel [H]ardness Supreme

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    May have? Ill wait and see.
     
  20. Master_shake_

    Master_shake_ Little Bitch

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    finally! i'm starving.

    i hope they get the book thrown at them.

    they won't, but i hope they do.
     
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  21. oldmanbal

    oldmanbal [H]ard|Gawd

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    This is completely true. Based on my father working for them for 30+ years and the people I know that have been laid off by IBM (close to 100), this report hits the nail on the head.
     
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  22. steakman1971

    steakman1971 2[H]4U

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    I'm leaving a job and starting a new job very soon. I'm in my mid 40's. Age bias was a concern for me. I know an HR person - she told me to remove references to my age from the resume (ie, only go back about 10 years in time for job experience, leave dates off college graduation, etc). I followed her advice.
    The place I'm going to has people in my age group, plus a little older even. I didn't see too many young pups.
     
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  23. cyberguyz

    cyberguyz Gawd

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    Yeah this has been a known issue to those of us that were inside that company (I retired from there after about 28 years but it was nevertheless a 'forced' early retirement since I was in my late '50s at the time). IBM has a strong reputation for cleaning out their staff before they hit retirement age.
    The majority of people that are turned out from one of these "resource actions" (they never call them what they really are - permanent layoffs) are those that are over 40. That is in Canada.
    I suspect in the U.S. this is even worse.

    Personally I am glad that I was retired from there. I can now enjoy what is left of my life on my own terms.
     
  24. Burticus

    Burticus 2[H]4U

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    Good read and while scary, doesn't shock me much.

    I have a couple IBM techs that come to my data center to replace SAN parts etc. They are all older guys, and they all said they were laid off then rehired as contractors soon after... for less pay and no benefits. I'm in my mid 40's and bullshit like this scares the crap out of me. I've already been laid off from one job I was good at, but I was just one of many, they were canning people all the time. I was told during one (recruiter) interview that I should consider dying my hair. I got grey early and by 40 I was totally grey. I keep it cut short so it doesn't stand out too much.

    When the next round happens (and I know it will be a when, not if) you will probably find me a Walmart cruising the hair dye for men section...
     
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  25. goodjob

    goodjob n00bie

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    It is just as bad in the U.S., believe me. I was there (in Silicon Valley, California) when they cut severance from a maximum of six moths to one at the end of February, then gave people three month notices in March, officially ending employment May 31, 2016. I turned 64 on May 3 that year, and had almost 20 years with the company. Since they were gutting my severance, I decided to also take my retirement for a few extra benefits. An associate told me that he went to one of the retraining/placement sessions available through Manpower that IBM sponsored, and it looked like an AARP convention! The good news is that I had been saving up for retirement, so I paid off my car and house, and am living off my investments and Social Security (started that last year with Medicare). More good news; I still have my health, and look about 20 years younger than my age. Time to start my international travel adventures again, now that the essentials have been addressed.

    IBM is a good place to be FROM: it looks good on a resume to a prospective employer if you're young enough and have marketable skills. It can provide good experience, but I no longer consider it to be a good long term career choice. They did not break me, I'm done with them.
     
  26. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun Stay [H]ard

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    And we call this free market capitalism.
     
  27. Spidey329

    Spidey329 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Seems like an easy fix from an evil company perspective. Just require all of your employees to occasionally shift a heavy box as part of their desk job. It's now part of their common job responsibilities and they can be exempted from the age discrimination!

    :)
     
  28. Kibagami

    Kibagami Limp Gawd

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    It's somewhat like a Logan's Run of the working world...
    I have been through this same situation myself. Being told I was overqualified repeatedly in job interviews over the past 8 years was so disheartening I cannot truly express it in words. I now work for a small high voltage technology company at a third of what I once was able to command for salary. I am 46.
     
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  29. capt_cope

    capt_cope Gawd

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    Eh, the vast majority of the "old" coders I know haven't kept up. Not that they're stupid (or lazy), but by the time you hit 40 you've *probably* got a wife and a kid or two taking up your time. It's pretty damn hard to devote 60 hours a week to work and then spend all your free time playing with emerging tech while being a good spouse and parent. Show me a web development company with an average developer age over 35 and I'll show you a company coding in .net that hasn't even considered cross-site scripting. The whole "stay with your parents and work at mcdonalds" trend is going to bite millenials in the ass in a decade or two.

    As far as IBM goes, it makes perfect sense - younger workers will spend more time working for less money than old ones. Most people start to shift priorities as they get a bit older. I'm only in my 30s, but if I were offered a new position that payed 50% more but required me to spend another 25% more time at work I'd turn it down. I've already "peaked" in my career, I'm way past regularly putting in 14 hour days to make someone else more money. But then I've been lucky, my parents taught me well and the only debt we've got is the remainder of the mortgage (thankfully my wife and I bought just after the low in housing prices, already similar houses in the area have sold for ~$100,000 more than we paid) and both of us have well funded retirement accounts at this point (if transamerica is being honest more than double the average balance for someone our age) so I really don't feel the pressure to work myself to death. If I cut back on my hobbies I'd be able to work a retail job and make ends meet at this point.
     
  30. brentsg

    brentsg [H]ard|Gawd

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    Of course it makes sense for IBM. There are plenty of things that would collapse society in the name of corporate profit if they weren't illegal.
     
  31. A Little Teapot

    A Little Teapot [H]Lite

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    Damn. Between this and the so-called "equity" hiring policies companies have, they're discriminating left, right and centre. How are they getting away with this?
     
  32. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    No, this is the result of crony capitalism, not the free markets.

    In a true free market, the company would end up failing and the executives would never be able to find another job.

    Instead, large companies are protected from free market competition by government regulations and the laws are not enforced against them.
    The executives (like most politicians) will always have someone who will hire them or appoint them to some board no mater how bad they mess up.
     
  33. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    Happened to me when the .com bubble burst.
    I was working (doing IT) at a large computer reseller (sold to business not retail).
    One day they just locked the doors at all the offices across the country and liquidated the company.
    Spent over a year looking for a job ( "your over qualified") before finally taking a help desk job at a little more than half the pay.
    Took me 6 years to finally land an IT job at a small/growing company for not much more than I was making at the help desk job.

    I was over qualified for both jobs, but as the new company grew, being over qualified for the IT job was the only way I could have kept up with everything they threw at me :D
    Took a while but they finally realized how much it would cost to replace me, so I finally got some decent raises.

    Took me 15 years to finally get my paycheck back to where it was before (not adjusting for inflation).
     
  34. viscountalpha

    viscountalpha 2[H]4U

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    Thanks for reminding me to find a way to work for myself. Screw the corporate world.
     
  35. Todd Walter

    Todd Walter Gawd

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    As I recall, in the 90s, it was "your age + years of service >= 75 means out". It was presented as a voluntary package but with furrowed eyebrows and the strong hint of downsizing to come.
     
  36. cyberguyz

    cyberguyz Gawd

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    5 years ago it wasn't voluntary at all. It was what they call a "resource action". You were offered "the package" which you could accept or reject, but either way you are out. In my own case I had enough years of service plus I was over 55 which allowed me to add in some minimal free medical benefits til I hit 65 and cash out my pension.

    One thing I noticed was that whenever IBM absorbed a company, there was a heavy downsizing that followed. The downsizing very seldom hit the people they absorbed since that is a large chunk of the value they bought. As a result it was time to comb thru the existing ranks getting rid of the older ones.
     
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