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Media investigations reveal stories of age discrimination at IBM

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act is meant to protect workers in New York from workplace discrimination because of their age. Companies can employ tactics, however, that appear to result in age discrimination. Investigations of IBM by ProPublica and Mother Jones have revealed that approximately 60 percent of job cuts by the company involved people over age 40. This reflected the job losses of about 20,000 people during a five-year period.

Stories collected from thousands of former employees reveal the methods used by the company to remove older workers. Internal company documents indicated a new focus on hiring young people. IBM changed its policy for collecting severance benefits to require private arbitration instead of lawsuits as the only option for employees to address age discrimination complaints. Private arbitration is known to favor employers.

Former workers described a reassignment strategy that the company used to force people out. IBM allegedly required workers to move to a different city or resign. Since the older individuals tended to not want to move, they usually resigned. Another worker had retirement papers issued even though she had no intention of retiring. Failing to accept retirement, however, would result in dismissal. The company also allegedly laid off older workers because their skills were out of date. These terminated employees might then be brought back on as contractors for reduced pay and no benefits.

Someone who is dealing with employment discrimination might want legal advice before making a complaint. An attorney could evaluate the facts of the situation and offer an opinion about the laws that might have been violated. A lawyer could organize evidence, such as workplace correspondence, payroll records, job evaluations and company policies. An attorney could use this information to file a lawsuit and pursue a settlement for damages.

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