IBM Fired 100,000 Older Employees to Look 'Cool,' 'Trendy', Lawsuit Alleges

IBM nearly fired third of its global workforce while aggressively hiring over the last five years. The company said it does not discriminate on age.

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IBM Fired 100,000 Older Employees to Look 'Cool,' 'Trendy', Lawsuit Alleges

IBM said to have laid off older staff to hire young people

Highlights
  • 61-year-old ex-IBM salesman Jonathan Langley has sued the company
  • Langley alleges he was fired despite performing “so well”
  • ProPublica had found IBM had fired around 20,000 older US employees

In a startling revelation, a senior IBM employee has deposed in an ongoing age discrimination lawsuit that the company has fired as many as 100,000 employees in the last few years in an effort to look "cool" and "trendy" for millennials like Amazon and Google.

According to The Register, in the lawsuit hearing in the case filed by lawyers on behalf of ex-IBM salesman Jonathan Langley, a one-time HR vice president Alan Wild reportedly testified "that 50,000 to 100,000 Big Blue staff have been axed in the past five or so years".

Young people replaced the axed staff at IBM to look young, as is the case with several tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, among others.

Langley, 61, sued IBM last year for "unfairly ditching older capable staff to replace them with so-called early professional hires".

The 108-year-old IBM, on its part, said the company does not discriminate on age.

In a statement, IBM said: "The company hires 50,000 employees each year, and spends nearly a half-billion dollars on training our team. We also receive more than 8,000 job applications every day, the highest rate that we've ever experienced, so there's clear excitement about IBM's strategy and direction for the future".

IBM nearly fired third of its global workforce while aggressively hiring as well in those years.

"Langley was a long-standing IBM Hybrid Cloud salesperson until he was selected to be laid off - despite performing so well," said the report.

In his deposition, Wild said IBM wanted potential hires to see Big Blue not as "an old fuddy duddy organization," but as "cool and trendy".

"To do that, IBM set out to slough off large portions of its older workforce using rolling layoffs over the course of several years," he was quoted as saying.

ProPublica published an investigation last March that found IBM had fired an estimated 20,000 US employees ages 40 or older in the past five years.

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