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Report alleges years of age discrimination at IBM

For some older employees in Long Island, age discrimination on the job might take the form of being forced into early retirement or given work conditions that make the job unacceptable. According to a report by the organization ProPublica and the magazine Mother Jones, IBM used these types of tactics to reduce the number of older workers in its ranks.

One person was told that she had to relocate or she would lose her job, and reportedly, this requirement was one way the company pushed older employees out. Others told stories of being let go on the grounds that their skills were not up to date and then being rehired with fewer benefits and lower pay.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits job discrimination against people 40 and older, and IBM says it has not engaged in it. However, the report and many former employees have a different story. The report estimates that as many as 20,000 older workers have been let go in the past several years. IBM also waived its requirement that employees agree they would not sue for age discrimination to receive their severance, but it replaced it with a requirement for private arbitration, which does not favor employees.

Age discrimination does not just include being terminated and can also take the form of a hostile environment in the workplace, being demoted or being denied a promotion. It might be age discrimination if a company refuses to recruit, interview or hire workers who are 40 or older. Unfortunately, it may be difficult to prove since some companies might try to say its actions were based on the employee's performance. This is why having legal assistance when pursuing remedies might be advisable.

Source: The Ladders, "Report: IBM has been discriminating against older employees for years", Monica Torres, March 23, 2018

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