281 cases settled
I think that makes it pretty much certain that there is an issue with age discrimination at IBM.
I hope the case does go to trial and that IBM loses, but now that seems unlikely.
A judge's recommendation to reject IBM's bid to dismiss an age discrimination claim raises the likelihood that the case could go to trial – and puts pressure on the IT titan to settle. In 2018, plaintiff Jonathan Langley sued IBM in the US, alleging that he had been unfairly laid off as a cloud salesperson at the age of 60 …
Unfortunately the story about the 281 cases doesn't say, but I bet the settlements were on the basis of "No admission of wrongdoing" or similar. That settlement may not be admissible evidence in court against IBM but it can only show them in a bad light. If you have done nothing wrong why settle so many claims, indeed any claims at all?
I think this, in the third paragraph from end, is instructive: ""I believe IBM is at significant risk," said Musell.". I can only hope the guy in question is swayed more by the potential $$$$$$$$$$ from punitive damages at trial, not to mention the pleasure at opening the floodgates to many more cases and claims, than the $$$$ IBM's Lawyer department will try to offer him to settle.
I bet the settlements were on the basis of "No admission of wrongdoing" or similar.
So do I.
Because a company can settle and then publicly deny the factor that lead them to settle I think they get into a habit of thinking that this applies to any dispute that went against them. Maybe this is why we then get companies continuing to deny an actual decision that went against them.
"According to Austin's report, "the numerous public and internal statements of IBM’s CEO and CFO expressing the need for the company to 'refresh' its workforce" raises the question of whether Langley's supervisors were guided by that directive when telling subordinates to cut staff."
The court has completely misunderstood. When top brass say refresh the workforce it just means they are considering offering free cold drinks and massages to oveworked staff</sarcasm>
IBM has long got rid of experienced staff in favour of new clueless people who haven''t a clue about business and technology.
It's a very odd strategy that has lost IBM huge amounts of market share, research, business and money.
I suppose we should expect that from the company who bungled the PC and lost to Microsoft's inferior OS after creating OS/2.
Good. For cases like this it's ALWAYS better to have it go to trial. If there is legitimate basis for the decision the company can prove it and demonstrate to the world it was moral, ethical and upstanding (all the things IBM says it is) - if there isn't, it's shown to be at fault, the plaintiff gets what they deserve (a chunky payout) and the company is forced to change its practices which works out better for future employees.
Allowing a settlement means the decision will be taken behind closed doors and there will be no consequences for the company as no admission of fault; as well as forever tainting the plaintiff in an unfavorable (and unemployable) light.
Settling out of court is an implicit admission in a case like this that there is something rotten. Discrimination claims are not easy to prove and if the documentation is done right there is nothing written to use in a claim. The problem for I've Been Molested is they said they need 'to refresh' their workforce. A statement that seriously implies age discrimination as refreshing implies upper managlement wants to have a hipper, younger workforce.
If this superstar rainmaker salesperson settles for a replacement 401k (i.e. a few million) from IBM, then unfortunately the whole case will get swept under the rug like all the other settled ones. Here's hoping he and his attorneys are willing to go the distance.
Age discrimination is going to be a killer, especially as automation and AI or whatever starts killing knowledge work. We're already being expected to work longer and save more money...but if companies are still in love with the abusable new grads by the time we get laid off never to find work again, that's not good. I've seen lots of people laid off in their 50s, years from any ability to access their retirement money or social security, with zero interest from employers for even basic work. Extend that out to more and more people competing for fewer jobs -- allowing companies to have another reason to reject people won't be good.
What we need is an enforceable law, with real teeth, that can't be watered down or worked around by companies through surreptitious means. Settlements don't set legal precedent because companies can just "admit no wrongdoing."
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