September 25, 2016
A complaint filed in U.S. District Court against the tech conglomerate Hewlett-Packard in August 2016 alleges that the company discriminated against older employees. The company began downsizing in 2012 amid restructuring, eventually laying off more than 80,000 employees. However, the workers have claimed that they were specifically targeted due to their age. The lawsuit further charges that a huge number of workers younger than 40 replaced those who were 40 and older who were terminated.
Four employees, ranging in age from 52 to 62, are pursuing class-action status in the lawsuit. They believe that the tech giant has violated age discrimination State and federal laws.
A spokesman for HP has stated that the company has not broken any laws and emphasized that they have a policy of inclusion, no matter a worker’s age. He further observed that any terminations were based on separate factors unrelated to age. However, the lawsuit counters that internal policies from the human resources department specifically focused on hiring new graduates or those who were just starting their careers.
Norman Matloff, who studies age discrimination in technical fields, teaches computer science at UC Davis. He indicated that the practice of seeking out younger workers at the expense of older employees is standard in the industry.
Meg Whitman, the CEO of HP, reportedly released a public statement that the company was actively looking for younger employees. Matloff expressed his surprise that she would make such overt statements, potentially placing HP in a vulnerable position.
The federal government is also investigating Google for possible age discrimination violations stemming from a 2015 lawsuit. Even so, reports from the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission indicate that age-discrimination complaints dropped nationally as well as in California between 2010 and 2014. Actual findings of age discrimination during the same time frame decreased from 753 to 611. However, specific data for lawsuits in the tech industry was not available.
As the work force ages, discrimination of workers over the age of 40 might affect you. If you feel that you have been a victim of on-the-job discrimination due to your age, seek legal representation in order to protect your rights.