back to article Intel laid me off for being too old, engineer claims in lawsuit

A former Intel engineer, laid off in 2015, has sued the chipmaker claiming that he was dismissed because of his age. In a complaint filed on Thursday in a US district court in Portland, Oregon, Ron Tsur alleges that years of abusive management led to discriminatory performance reviews that, alongside age-biased corporate …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Another one?

    What is it with failing, former-monopoly US tech companies now circling the drain that make them such a hostile place to work ?

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Another one?

      Because the people are left are bottomdwellers that can't find a job somewhere else, so they battle everyone else to keep their own job.

      1. Toe Knee

        Re: Another one?

        I don't believe that's always the case. I once worked for GE (everything from lightbulbs to nuclear submarines), and when my division was removed, the lay offs and terminations went in reverse seniority order. In it's waning days, I recall seeing my ID number getting closer and closer to the bottom of the list, as all the more recent hires were shown the door.

        As much as I hate to admit it, I felt some fairly serious animosity toward some of the more senior staff (the ones who could've easily retired, and enjoy the very generous pension package on offer [which is also a thing of the past] thereby pushing me *up* on the seniority list, rather than down).

        Looking back, I realized we were all pretty well done at that place, with higher seniority merely buying time before their round of mass lay-offs. But at least the C Suite got hefty bonuses out of the whole thing, which as we all know, is what REALLY matters!

        That and maximizing shareholder value, of course!

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Another one?

      Becasue they were always hostile places to work for the last 30 years.

      And it's not just tech companies... it's American companies in general.

      1. Julz Silver badge

        Re: Another one?

        Spot on.

      2. Mike Pellatt

        Re: Another one?

        2 years at Intel cured me of the aspiration to work for an American company.

        Should have realised, had had a good view of AT&T for the previous 3 years.

    3. EricM
      FAIL

      Re: Another one?

      No idea if this is better at AMD, but harassing and firing primaryly your most experienced developers - which often happen to be old farts - might be at least a contributing factor in the slow, but steady demise of the entity formerly known as Chipzilla ...

      So in fact the cause-effect relationship might be just the other way round: Companies become hostile to aging workforce, probably intended to simply raise the bottom line, and start to fail as direct effect of that actions.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Another one?

        "So in fact the cause-effect relationship might be just the other way round"

        That's what I was thinking except the hostility doesn't need to be particularly ageist. It can be generalised hostility to staff who are regarded as an unnecessary expense. Those staff who can get out do so.

        1. EricM

          Re: Another one?

          I agree, if staff is just viewed as expensive and expendable, the older ones also become natural targets as they happen to be more expensive in general.

          The point us - I think - the cost of an experienced member of staff can be easily quantified, while his/her contribution to projects ( especially the "been there, done that - and failed, because..." type of contributions ) is hard to quantify.

          Additionally there is a fine line between avoiding past mistakes and refusing innovations...

          1. Snake Silver badge

            Re: expendable

            This exactly. It's all about the money, and since most employers paywages based on both length of employment and experience, an older worker will be more expensive. So they are the first to go.

            Note the irony: the older workers are let go by the (old) upper management, so as to allow said older upper management to keep...their own higher pay scale.

            Best choice I ever made was to listen to my instructors and NOT go into an all-tech field. I may have made more money during my younger years but decades later you're nothing more than a disposable part.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: expendable

              >Best choice I ever made was to listen to my instructors and NOT go into an all-tech field. I may have made more money during my younger years but decades later you're nothing more than a disposable part.

              Back in the 80's it was obvious "Computing" was a young persons industry, and with the UK retirement age being moved up towards 70's, I took the decision to aim to 'retire' from my first career at circa 50, leaving circa 20 years for a second career with a different focus and pace. This decision was reinforced during the 90's when we started to see many redundancy programmes with the 50+ generation being disproportionally represented.

              This approach has meant my pension disproportionately benefits from my early years. Word of advice to those starting out - always sign up to the pension scheme, even if you don't envisage staying for more than two years - if you leave you can reinvest those monies in your own free-standing pension pot...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Another one?

            there is a fine line between avoiding past mistakes and refusing innovations

            Oh yes. Some 15 or more years ago I was pulled into a project that needed my specific expertise. The moment I looked at the proposal I realised we were looking at a very profitable market monopoly, and I set out architecting this idea while the sales people haggled over contracts and fought off the few competitors awake enough to realise what was about to happen.

            What we were doing was at the time pretty new, and about the first thing that happened was that I got blocked by old fogeys at director level stating that "they could not possible condone exposing the company to such risk" which in reality translated as "for God's sake don't rock the boat with stuff I don't understand when I'm only a few years from my (massive) pension". I did have, however a very good manager who arranged for a meeting with the big cheese himself. If that didn't help, well, ç'est la vie and we'll cook up other things.

            That meeting was fun, because this guy was also on his way out but didn't mind going out with a bang and so told me to just forward me such statements.

            I can tell you one thing, if the voice of God comes down a few times in your favour, it doesn't half help - it only took about 3 such incidents and I could actually get on with the job.

            Let me illustrate how successful that was: the entire company was bought out by a major telco for the explicit purpose of getting hold of this product once it was up and running as it was the most profitable of the whole company.

            No, I didn't personally benefit from this as I was too low in the ranks at the time, but it formed a fairly important part of my CV and I'm about to do something like this again.

            But this time as owner.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Another one?

              >That meeting was fun, because this guy was also on his way out but didn't mind going out with a bang and so told me to just forward me such statements.

              I had a project with a sponsor a few years off retirement - my question was: did he want the carriage clock presentation or the golden handshake to go quietly? as his answer directly impacted the level of risk and innovation we would put into the solution...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another one?

      Its not just American companies. This kind of behavior was a characteristic of large English companies back in the day when the UK had 'large tech companies'. (Notice that the UK doesn't have any 'large tech companies' these days......)

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. vtcodger Silver badge

    Why?

    "Soon after, younger co-workers within [the manager's] department who became aware of [the manager's] critique of Mr Tsur began calling Mr. Tsur derogatory names, such as 'old man,' and 'old fart,' as well as demeaning Mr Tsur’s Israeli origin in Mr. Tsur’s presence,"

    Assuming this to be true, why would Mr Tsur (or anybody else) want to work there?

    1. Foxglove

      Re: Why?

      'Assuming this to be true, why would Mr Tsur (or anybody else) want to work there?'

      My answer: Bills to pay.

      I don't particularly like where I work, but getting another job on a comparable salary with the short commute I have would be difficult so I put up with it, for now at least.

      I don't think my company discriminates, but it does employ idiots and I wish there was an easier way to get rid of them, young or old.

      We have a few managers who are bullies and bullshitters as well, by happy accident or not some newly imported senior managers (we've been taken over) have got rid of or side-lined some of the worst of them.

      Perhaps they want their own cadre of bullies and bulshitters, only time will tell.

      If only they would look down the food chain and get rid of the chaff at my level.

      Nobody should be discriminated against. but if you're shit at you're job there should be a way to get rid.

      Full Disclosure: I'm old. And Grumpy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why?

        some people also genuinely like the work they do, even if the co-workers aren't exactly the best

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      Because they are young and stupid. At my antiquity, I have little patience for these games. I had a manager who loved to play "Buzzword Bingo" when some of the C-suite would give a presentation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why?

        This is why they want rid of the older workers who have got wise to management lies, scams and bullying to make themselves feel important and powerful when it reality they are jemployed soley so their boss doesn't have to speak to the people who bring the money in.

        The last always surprised me, it is so easy to deal with staff on an equitable basis but when the boss is a psychopathic-knownothing-little-hitler with delusions of grandeur then current management structure becomes all too clear and why they hate those they depend upon for a job so much. It is hard even for the deluded to keep up thier delusion that only they matter when reality keeps intruding

        The answer is always to leave and watch as the company folds up without you since the fact is that unless your company sells only hot air then someone has to be employeed to create something tangeable and this makes clear that managers are just an unnecessary luxury to business. The less managers you have they less actual work is required to make whatever you are selling simply because all managers typicallly do is get in the way and cause unnecessary stress.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      Jobs don't grow on trees nor sit on shelf at the market.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why?

      Very likely this is one toxic manager that wrecked his reputation (notice the bit about the department disintegrating?).

      Company training is very clear that that kind of treatment is unacceptable & provides multiple avenues to address it.

      My own experience of the company is that managers generally had better people skills than managers at previous employers. But it's a huge company so I can't comment on culture outside the bit I knew.

      Being an old fart, one thing I can say is that the best way of dealing with a bad/toxic manager is just to get out of the situation. In a bigger company it should be possible to transfer to another dept; small company means a new start elsewhere.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So he waited

    since 2015 to sue?

    He was hurt because he was called an "old fart" or "old man"

    I hope he never reads elreg or it's comments. He would be devastated.

    Cheers from an old fart who is just about to pour another voddy. Good weekend to you all

    1. JassMan Silver badge

      Re: So he waited

      As another old fart with some younger friends, it never ceases to amaze me how little the youngsters know in spite of their MSc degrees. Just last weekend I was chatting with one about various mechanisms and he had never heard of collets, didn't know what a scroll compressor was and wouldn't believe gears could mate unless they were circular. He was surprised I knew anything about mechanics since I had spent a lifetime in broadcasting.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: So he waited

        Hah! You are me and I claim my five pounds.

        In a job prior to retiring, I worked in the electronic and software design side of the business alongside the guys who did the mechanical design. But I was therefore completely unqualified to offer any mechanical opinion - even with a skillset that allowed me to record an annoying noise from a mechanism and unambiguously use it to prove which component caused the noise and why... that component is still in place and still generating the noise.

        I think a problem with old-fartism (of which I claim honourable membership) is that one is judged not on a lifetime of often undocumented learning but on the immediate specifications of ones job title, or on increasingly pointless certificates of learning.

        (At the age of 55 I applied for a job which insisted on all my qualifications from post-graduate degrees back down to my O and A-levels, school exams in 1976 and 1978 respectively. Of what possible use could they have been in the hiring decision?)

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Paperwork.

          HR needs to look busy and having piles of papers to sift through is a great time-waster.

        2. Adelio Silver badge

          Re: So he waited

          Absolutely none, you are correct. After working in the industry for many years school accademic qualifications as meaningless.

        3. Muscleguy

          Re: So he waited

          So they can cover their asses if you fail or turn out to be mad or bad. In the interview for the job I have now they were not assessing me, they were working hard to persuade me to please, please take the job.

          Nevertheless HR insisted on my references. One of my referees was sweating it, I told her not to, that I had it and they just wanted to know I wasn’t mad or bad.

          Took an unconscionable time to actually start work, council HR depts in the pandemic there. Then I do two weeks work before the month ends to be told no money, they’ll pay it end of this month. I wish they’d told me that when I started. When you’re expecting money you spend more than when you are not. Bastards.

        4. the Jim bloke Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: So he waited

          (At the age of 55 I applied for a job which insisted on all my qualifications from post-graduate degrees back down to my O and A-levels, school exams in 1976 and 1978 respectively. Of what possible use could they have been in the hiring decision?)

          I would imagine that is their second choice of hiring criteria, but if you dont have a facebook profile they dont know what else to look at...

          yet another experienced worker with realistic expectations - commonly referred to as 'a grumpy old fart'

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So he waited

        JassMan>> it never ceases to amaze me how little the youngsters know in spite of their MSc degrees.

        Hire BEng/MEng grads instead?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So he waited

          Eng is only better if there is a third party dictating what the university course must teach, asside from that the sole difference between Eng and Sci is that in Eng you get business training as well which can make problems with working depending upon the employer and their management.

          The fact is, no degrees actually make you an expert in anything, universities give you some very expensive training that you could have obtained from books directly and a bit of paper that HR department like to claim justifies their support for your employment.

          At the moment there is belief in some universities and some qualifications but eventually wisdom will prevail and banish belief because it is just another scam.

          It is a shame as university can be the time of your life but now it is just the cause of your indenture via crippling debt.

      3. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: So he waited

        The problem is that degrees are now marketed as vocational qualifications. To make things worse grade inflation has altered the degree landscape so that a minimum qualification now seems to be a masters' degree.

        When I was an engineering undergraduate we were told that our engineering degree would not make us into engineers. It was designed to give us the background so that after four or five years practical training we'd know what we were doing. (This typically was the qualification time for membership in the IEE or similar.) This turned out to be entirely true -- we could certainly do useful stuff straight out of school but we tended to be dangerous if left unsupervised.

        This 'hands on training' bit has been entirely overlooked these days in favor of piece of paper purchsed from a reputable college. This has two undersirable effects. One is a profusion of qualified people who know nothing, can't do anything but they all want to supervise (and earn top money). The other is the neglect of serious talent that came up through a 'non-degreed' route -- I've worked with several people who lacked the paper but really knew what they were doing. Because another thing we were told at school is that "five years out your degree won't be important" -- try telling that to HR.

        1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: So he waited

          Quote

          "Because another thing we were told at school is that "five years out your degree won't be important" -- try telling that to HR."

          Yupp been there , done that.... with regard to a teaching job at the local college .

          Got told "You've got no qualifications to do CNC/Robotics, therefore you cannot be considered"

          despite 20+ years of doing everything from changing a filter to programming complex 5 axis aerospace/nuclear parts. And teaching the apprentices/operators how to do their jobs.

        2. the Jim bloke Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: So he waited

          was working with a graduate engineer once and made him useful for measuring the depth of an excavation by getting him to jump into it. Our safety consultant who saw this was mortified, but it got the job done...

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So he waited

          When I did my BEng there was a lot of talk about getting charted eng status, IEE membership etc. The MSc added some deeper silicon knowledge and iirc boosted my starting salary by £400pa.

          In the end, not being a charted eng mattered little compared to the choices I made, network of contacts I built and also being in the right place at the right time with the right background. No regrets. (Fully accept in other eng fields charted is a good thing to obtain.)

        4. NXM Bronze badge

          Re: So he waited

          I graduated 34 years ago and still have no idea what I'm doing or why I'm doing it myself most of the time.

          It's a good day when I don't scorch the desk with a new circuit that fails in an unexpected way (I really ought to expect that by now).

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: So he waited

      Lawyers aren't free. In fact, they are quite costly.

      And the American labor dept. can easily take that long to process a claim. If you're lucky they even process it at all.

      Not evening exaggerating.

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Moral of the story: if you're already freelance you have the best management you'll ever find so don't go permie.

    1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Permie orgo have me

      He was probably offered a permanent position because they needed him and had to get rid of contractors..

  5. Terry2000

    This isn't believable

    Obviously he deserves his day in court. But I started skimming the outlandish accusations before the part about his manager ENCRYPTED his performance review? Seriously? Not in any sort of HR system I've ever seen. Or heard of. Or any corporate lawyer ever knew existed. This whole thing sounds nothing short of sheer fantasy.

    Let him present evidence in court. But when it is done one side or the other of this lawsuit needs to be locked up: either the Intel staff that so monstrously violated about half the entire employment law of the country -- or this guy that imagined such a ridiculous tale.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This isn't believable

      I also wondered about that, but while I challenge the encryption part, it's not so hard to hide the reason for a poor review - I've been on a similar receiving end at a large European telecommunications company:

      My project ran into serious hot water after our VP (the boss' boss) decided to push ahead despite clear warnings from my colleagues and I that this was a very risky decision. When the risk materialised, the majority of us received poor performance reviews over that year so our VP and his IT counterpart could cover their asses.

      My own boss was among those in the firing line so didn't have much choice but to cascade the poor reviews and didn't even try to substantiate them. Several of us started the formal process to contest the performance reviews. Those in India were told by HR that their complaints had no basis, and those of us in Europe were listed for redundancy in the annual headcount reduction cycle, and the HR review process mysteriously didn't conclude before we left.

      Pity, because other than a few toxic politicians like my VP, it was a pretty good place to work.

  6. s. pam
    Mushroom

    This is your future younger generation

    This is not an isolated incident, in fact if you work for an American company as you age you’d better watch your back. No matter how nice, cooperative, support others never say a bad word against your co-workers your younger boss hates you.

    Having been through slightly different fracas twice in 10 years as a U.K. employee of an American company this shit is happening more and more as I get older. Even if you’re getting top score reviews you stand a damn good chance of trumped up b.s. against you being lodged. They’ll either offer you a payoff for your silence to quietly go away, or make up more hurdles and traps when you appeal.

    Either way you’re likely to be fscked and even expensive U.K. employment solicitors completely unable to find a hole to counter the actions.

    Been there, you’ve been warned of your potential future.

  7. RayOlson

    WhosTheNextVictim

    Experienced workers are invaluable assets for every company. But NOT for INTEL.We were victims of Intel's massive cut off. Intel forced us retire,and they smothered our voice by paying us severance package.But we don't want to keep silence anymore.

    Detailed timeline is here on twitter: https://twitter.com/CarlRil63498934/status/1489439656877961223

    The legal charges and formal complaints regarding Intel's age discrimination were led by Ron Tsur, the former engineer who got fired in 2015 and endured relentlessly his pursuit of bringing Intel to JUSTICE since then. All efforts by Ron Tsur and the group of victims:

    https://www.pdx-tie.org/2021/02/

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