Age discrimination and IBM: What’s going on?

IBM is, arguably, one of the grand old giants of computer technology. The company may seem like a dinosaur compared to younger tech firms like Lenovo, Amazon and Google.

It’s a bit ironic, then, that IBM executives have been caught actively planning to oust their older employees, even going so far as to call them “dinobabies” that should become an “extinct species.”

Hundreds of former employees are suing

An undated set of emails between top IBM officials has been entered into evidence in a lawsuit that’s being brought by hundreds of former employees who claim they were forced out of their jobs to make way for “new blood.”

The emails include a specific plan to get rid of what the executives called “dated maternal workforce” and “accelerate change” by replacing the “dinobabies” with new – and younger – employees. These older workers were repeatedly denigrated in the exchange, which included blanket statements that are full of ageist stereotypes, like:

  • “They really don’t understand social or engagement.”
  • “Not digital natives. A real threat for us.”

Another executive openly lamented the fact that IBM’s workforce didn’t contain nearly as many Millennials as their competitor’s workforce.

Records of a 2018 ProPublica investigation indicate that IBM terminated over 20,0000 U.S.-based employees who were 40 or older within just a five-year period, and those older workers made up a disproportionate number of terminations in that time.

Age discrimination is a common issue in tech

Ageism is a particular problem in the tech industry, where innovation and youth are prized. While a touch of silver at your temples and years of experience are things that command respect in many industries, those things can be fatal flaws for a tech employee’s career – although few cases are this blatant.

If you’re the victim of ageism in the workplace, you do have options to fight back. While not every case has a “smoking gun,” experienced legal guidance can help you get what you are due.

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