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IBM sued, facing scrutiny for layoff practices

IBM, a technology company known at one point in time as "Big Blue" and as a manufacturer of personal computers, has had to trim its work force as the marketplace gets more competitive. While layoffs are a natural part of a business's life cycle, in this case, some are accusing the nationally known company of using their layoffs as a way to weed out older workers, which is a form of age discrimination.

One former employee is suing on this basis. The man, who is 60, worked at the firm for almost 25 years. He alleges that his performance evaluations were always at least satisfactory and often indicated that he had done better than expected at his job.

However, he got caught up in a recent round of layoffs, which has led him to question whether his layoff was actually due to his age.

Other employees claimed that they were treated similarly. In fact, a recent report suggested that IBM has, over the last 4 years, let go of 20,000 employees across the country. Of these 20,000, 60 percent, about two-thirds, were over 40. On the flip side, IBM appears to be actively recruiting Millennials to work for their company.

According to some reports, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, has launched a separate probe in to the company's practices. Although the EEOC has not filed suit against the company at present, some suggest that an enforcement action or a class-action lawsuit filed by former employees is a real possibility.

The lesson in this case to California employees is that an employer's layoffs are not always just an unfortunate but honest step the company in question has to take to reduce costs. In some cases, layoffs can be disguised efforts to weed out older workers and replace them with younger employers, which is illegal.

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Law Offices of Allan A. Sigel, P.C.

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