According to data from ProPublica, IBM has gotten rid of roughly 20,000 workers aged 40 and older over the past five years. That is roughly 60 percent of those who work for the company. This has been accomplished by asking older employees to take early retirement, laying them off or simply terminating them outright. In some cases, workers in New Jersey and around the country were terminated and rehired as consultants.
IBM says that it is proud of its employees and complies with the law. ProPublica and Mother Jones used stories from over 1,000 former IBM workers as well as company documents to uncover the allegedly widespread age discrimination. The shift toward a preference for younger workers began in 2014 as the company wanted to focus more on cloud storage and analytics. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, it is illegal to discriminate against people who are aged 40 or older when making employment decisions.
However, IBM requires employees to handle complaints of age discrimination through arbitration, which is more favorable to the company. The company also forced employees to move thousands of miles or resign from their current positions. For some older workers, it was often more practical to resign as opposed to uprooting their lives. In some cases, workers were forced into either retiring or losing their job.
Individuals who have been terminated or encouraged to retire before they are ready may be victims of age discrimination in the workplace. Those who are age 40 or older may want to take legal action in an effort to obtain compensation or other forms of relief. An attorney may review evidence such as statements from management or personal records that could indicate a bias toward older workers to help obtain a favorable outcome.