Three former employees have filed a lawsuit against IBM, claiming the company treats its older workers unfairly.
According to the lawsuit, the three plaintiffs are among the thousands of IBM employees who have been laid off recently because of the company’s decision to recruit millennials “in order to make the face of IBM younger, while at the same time pushing out older employees.”
Edvin Rusis, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, was informed that he would be laid off in June. He used the company’s internal hiring platform to apply for five different positions. Although he was qualified for all of them, Rusis didn’t receive any responses.
Plaintiff Henry Gerrits said he also applied to several positions within the company and never heard anything back.
“IBM has discriminated, and continues to discriminate, against its older workers, both by laying them off disproportionately to younger workers and by not hiring them for open positions,” the lawsuit claims.
Liss-Riordan, the lawyer representing the three plaintiffs, said that age discrimination has been a big problem in the technology industry.
“IBM appears to be trying to change its image by targeting older workers for layoffs,” she said. “This is illegal. We have laws in this country to prevent discrimination by age. These are employees who have devoted years of their lives to this company only to be shown the door.”
IBM denies the allegations in the lawsuit.
“Changes in our workforce are about skills, not age. In fact, since 2010 there is no difference in the age of our U.S. workforce, but the skills profile has changed dramatically,”said IBM spokesperson Edward Barbini, in an emailed statement. “That is why we have been and will continue investing heavily in employee skills and retraining — to make all of us successful in this new era of technology.
The lawsuit requests that the laid off employers be given their positions back and awarded back pay and other damages. The plaintiffs also hope that other former IBM workers join the lawsuit.