IBM fired thousands of people over the last few years in a bid to shed older workers from its workforce to make room for millennials, a lawsuit alleges.
According to a court document filed Tuesday in Texas, Alan Wild, former vice president of human resources, said that IBM had “laid off 50,000 to 100,000 employees in just the last several years,” several media outlets reported.
In his deposition, Wild said IBM face talent recruitment problems and was determined to show that the 108-year-old company was not “an old fuddy duddy organization,” by sloughing off large portions of its older workforce.
The ongoing age discrimination suit is one of several lawsuits that IBM is current facing, all of which accuse Big Blue of systematically targeting older works for layoffs, flouting rules against age bias.
Another lawsuit includes a class-action case in Manhattan filed by well-known employment lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan on behalf of three former employees, including Henry Gerrits, 67, who lives in Cary and worked for IBM for about 33 years before getting laid off in June 2018.
In April, Liss-Riordan updated WRAL TechWire on the case, saying more than 60 former employees from around the country has since joined the suit since it launched last September.
“Those are employees who did not take the severance and sign an arbitration agreement. We also represent 60 employees who signed arbitration agreements, for whom we are pursuing individual arbitrations,” she said.
“We are asking the court to allow notice to go out, and those employees who are affected and within the time period who did not sign arbitration agreements can join our case and those who did sign arbitration clauses, we can pursue their claims in arbitration.”
IBM, meanwhile, argues that the changes in its 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,” IBM spokesperson Edward Barbini said in an e-mailed statement at the time. “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.”