IBM allegedly targeted older American workers with layoffs, firings and forced retirement to systematically replace them with younger, cheaper millennials and overseas workers, according to a new report.
In the past five years, the investigation found more than 20,000 IBM workers — about 60 percent of its estimated total U.S. job cuts in that period — were over the age of 40. IBM, which still employs 400,000 people worldwide, flouted domestic laws and regulations protecting older workers from age discrimination by not providing information on why they were fired, required them to sign away the right to sue IBM and converted job cuts into retirements to avoid public disclosure requirements, alleged the report published Thursday by ProPublica and Mother Jones.
“We are proud of our company and our employees’ ability to reinvent themselves era after era, while always complying with the law,” said IBM spokesperson Edward Barbini in the report. “Our ability to do this is why we are the only tech company that has not only survived but thrived for more than 100 years.”
IBM did not immediately respond to a request for comment to this news organization regarding the report.
ProPublica and Mother Jones uncovered internal documents that allege IBM was aggressively looking into hiring a younger workforce. In one 2014 internal presentational slide, it read CAMS — an IBM moniker for new emerging technologies like cloud services, mobile, big data and social media — “are driven by millennial traits.” In the same presentation, baby boomers were depicted as “more dubious” of analytics, placing “less stock in the advantages data offers” and less “motivated to consult their colleagues or get their buy in,” according to the report.
Internal spreadsheets that evaluated IBM workers’ performance and listed workers on the chopping block alleged IBM’s job-elimination strategy skewed toward older workers, according to the report. One spreadsheet from 2016 created to start the process of layoffs, job outsourcing and replacement had more than 400 full-time IBM workers listed; 90 percent of the workers were over the age of 40, according to the report.