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Report: IBM job cuts may be related to age discrimination

Many older employees in Pennsylvania and across the country may be concerned about the potential impact of age discrimination on their job search. These concerns may be well-founded in many cases. In a report published by Mother Jones and ProPublica in March 2018, journalists revealed that employees aged 40 and up at IBM had been subject to firings, layoffs and rushed retirement according to leaked documents and personal employee testimony. The report said that 60 percent of IBM job cuts in the U.S. over the past five years involved workers aged 40 and up.

The Age Discrimination and Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits workplace discrimination against older workers on the basis of age, and IBM denies that it has broken the law. Citing its hundred-year history, the company said that it had always complied with relevant law prohibiting discrimination in the workplace. The article alleges that the environment in the corporation changed after a 2014 focus shift. Presentations to executives allegedly included goals of changing the demographics of the company to favor "early professional hires."

This period also marked another change in IBM's policies. After 2014, IBM stopped releasing the data indicating the ages of people who had been laid off. In order to avoid requirements in ADEA, IBM no longer required workers to give up their right to sue in order to receive severance. However, it did mandate that any claims go through private arbitration, a process that is strongly favorable to employers.

Older workers at the company were also impacted by cuts in telecommuting and mandatory transfers to distant locations. Of course, the story of workers over 40 at IBM is far from unique. People who have been subject to age discrimination or other types of unlawful workplace discrimination may benefit from speaking with an employment lawyer. An attorney may be able to help employees subject to discrimination to seek justice and protect their jobs.

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