back to article It took seven years but over-40s fired by HP win $18m settlement

After over seven years of legal battles, a group of former HP employees who claim the venerable firm discriminated against older staff when culling jobs has won a $18 million settlement. Hewlett Packard's offshoots, HP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) have agreed to cough up just over a day's combined profits for the last …

  1. sarusa Silver badge

    The a-holes with the most money win again

    This is HP's near-complete victory (complete would have been getting it tossed out). $18M is nothing. They were penalized much less money than they saved each year by this rampant age discrimination.

    So once again big business is reassured it can do whatever it wants and make more money that way.

    1. Dacarlo

      Re: The a-holes with the most money win again

      Note to self. Don't buy HP stuff.

      1. aerogems Silver badge

        Re: The a-holes with the most money win again

        I thought that memo went out decades ago. Like, even before they merged with Compaq.

    2. streaky

      Re: The a-holes with the most money win again

      Well, lawyers are the winners here. 'murica.

      This is why loser pays systems are best.

  2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge


    $1 for the claimants, $17,999,999 for the lawyers?

  3. Alan_Peery

    Not nearly enough, before and particularly after the lawyers fees

    IANAL, pretty obviously.

  4. Falmari Silver badge

    Fair, adequate and reasonable

    "Judge Edward Davila determined the settlement was "fair, adequate and reasonable""

    Fair, adequate and reasonable for who, certainly not the plaintives who only get 30%. I suppose Judge Edward Davila means 70% was fair, adequate and reasonable for the lawyers who have managed to drag it out for 7 years without ever going to trial.

    The legal system is broken when the lawyers are awarded twice as much as their clients and it took them 7 years to do it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fair, adequate and reasonable

      "The legal system is broken when the lawyers are awarded twice as much as their clients and it took them 7 years to do it."

      But that's the US legal system, and as the US is a democracy I have to conclude that (like obesity, mass shootings, and dangerous roads) a crap and expensive legal system is something US voters want.

      1. Twilight

        Re: Fair, adequate and reasonable

        The US is a representative democracy which means (in the way it is implemented in the US) the voters really don't have significant say in a lot of things - the elected officials have all the say. The only say the voters have is in who they elect. Compound that with the way the US media works (it's amazing how low the bar is to be considered "news") and the US has a mess created by the 1% (really it's more like the 0.1%).

  5. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    People focus on the monies, but imagine being dragged through this for seven years and having your life circling around the case for so long.

    and for what? Were the laws thought to be so ineffective? Like to tick the box "we are doing something about discrimination" and then hoping nobody is going to test it?

    Surely this lawsuit is going to change how corporations will treat their employees from now on... Ha ha

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Purpose

      You dont go to court to make money, you go to court to set precedents.

      Unless you're a lawyer.

      This sets a precedent. So mission accomplished.

      1. Dave@Home

        Re: Purpose

        It doesn't though, but not being settled at trial it merely comes out as a draw, with no future impact

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This is why you never sell your working soul for The Man or The Corporation.

    Do your job, but don’t get sucked into the system.

    Get out whatever you can.

  7. Yorick Hunt Silver badge

    They wonder...

    ... why HP went from being at the front of the IT world to just a box mover aspiring to compete against China and Taiwan...

    Get rid of the experienced, competent staff and replace them with McDonald's graduates, and this is what happens - sliding into obscurity.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: They wonder...

      At least McDonald's graduates have real life work experience. It's not always the case with MBAs

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They wonder...

      I think you'll find the move to box shifter happened when the older guys were there. It happened on their watch.

      As an old guy myself (sort of) I would urge older guys to be more dynamic and provide value for money.

      Let's be honest here, some of older techies are legends in the eyes of our younger colleagues, we share knowledge and experience you can't buy...but more of us are just miserable old bastards practicing job security.

      Personally, I like to make myself indispensible to the younger folks, it keeps me employed....but a large percentage of "duffers" won't give young people the time of day.

      You need to be the lion using your big paws to guide the cubs while they make mistakes and figure things out.

      They are the ones that will be dragging the hunt back when you're too old to take down a gazelle yourself.

      1. Yorick Hunt Silver badge

        Re: They wonder...

        "I like to make myself indispensible to the younger folks, it keeps me employed"

        Spaghetti code and zero documentation, tried and true ;-)

        "You need to be the lion using your big paws to guide the cubs while they make mistakes and figure things out."

        Indeed, but the problem here isn't with the young blood in the technical team - it's with the clueless young blood (young only by capacity, not by age) infesting management.

        I can handle a manager of any age not having the slightest idea about technical aspects, as long as they're willing to listen to those who know - but once they jump on their "I'm a manager, I know everything" saddle, I'm out.

        More's the pity for these folks who didn't have the ability/desire/forethought to leave other avenues open for themselves; it's been MANY decades since corporations last placed any value on loyalty.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They wonder...

          Doesnt matter how crap a manager is as far as I am concerned, as long as I know who his boss is and how to communicate with them.

          You can deal with bad management the same way you deal with a clogged artery, you bypass it.

          The trick is you need to do it in a respectful and professional way. You can't go full Karen and just whine at someones boss and expect respect and results. You need to be cool, calm, collected and most importantly be armed with verifiable facts.

          Its one thing to point out that someone is a worthless fucking jobsworth, its something else entirely to be able to show why.

          I have slain many jobsworth managers in my time.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HP you are scum

    When you use lawyers and loopholes to drag it out so that real people die or become desperate then you are SCUM.

    When these things start all pay for all employees and owners and share holders should be frozen.

    That would focus the minds of these scum bags.

  9. xyz123 Silver badge

    Wait til the big lawsuit heaves into view next year.

    HP Printer firmware [allegedly] decides if you "haven't used enough red/green/blue etc" and fakes gaps and nozzle blockages until you run multiple cleaning passes. All designed to waste as much ink as possible.

    Embedded DEEP into the firmware, authorized on-high this could be the final nail in their printer business coffin.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Let's face it, the only way Corporate USA gets any financial damage is from the EU and Asian countries. The US government is too well funded by the same corporations to do anything about it.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        There used to be a word for this. Hmm... contraption? corrugation? Can't remember.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          It’s the USA so it’s “business”, if however, you are looking (from the USA) at Russia or China and the relationships between their governments and their industries, it’s called “corruption”.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          US democracy? US government? US capitalism?

  10. Gil Grissum

    The Bean Counters...

    Not nearly enough. Went through this sort of thing as an IT Contractor at IBM...Was so stressed out as a Contractor working ar Wipro, I had a stroke in 2018. Survived that.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As the “go to” old dude at work

    The final nail in the coffin for me was the plan to hot-desk. (Stand up desks included)

    Retired within a month.


  12. aerogems Silver badge

    Why everyone hates lawyers

    The bit about how HP's lawyers were basically threatening to just drag the case out indefinitely is a prime example of why everyone hates lawyers. There's providing a robust defense for your client's position, and then there's deliberately trying to cover up illegal shit like age discrimination. The latter should be grounds for losing your law license IMO, but, as this article demonstrates, it goes on all. the. time.

  13. Hazmoid

    I think this is a win for HP by default

    Unfortunately as an older IT person, this strikes me as very much a win for HP, especially with their disclaimer in the settlement.

    I believe there should be a limit on how long this litigation can be stretched, with daily penalties for the delaying party (typically businesses trying to out-wallet the litigators) that should be proportional to their annual gross income.

    1. streaky

      Re: I think this is a win for HP by default

      Per my comment above, loser pays is a natural immune response against exactly that sort of thing - if you make the case more expensive by dragging it out and adding other legal costs that aren't necessary when you have no hope of winning it goes on top of any payout you will have to make when you lose - it also stops lawyers walking off with all the money *and* is a natural immune defence against frivolous lawsuits. There's a reason the US is the lawyer capital of the world, and not having the loser pays rule is a big part of it. Whole thing is a bit of a scam really.

  14. Jase Prasad

    Serial Killers of Lawyers, Bankers & Technocrats are Sharpening Their Knives

    Existing HP staff feel angry they remain employed by a firm full of A-holes so many will look to resign. Those who do not will remain working on the HP production line, though doubtless they’ll seek vengeance in other ways; secretly applying back doors in the hardware that will leave HP clients vulnerable for their mates to hack into and jeopardise client HP infrastructure, sending the HP share price to free fall.

  15. streaky

    Forget the legalities a minute

    Speaking as somebody who is 42 and is the only one who knows what they're doing in my work peer group, I honestly don't know why you'd want to do this. Burn the institutional memory, throw away the experience - and, yes, it's illegal anyway. When you're offloading people, if the problem is "you're over 40" surely it would be easy to articulate why every individual in that class was no use to the business in a way that doesn't involve their age - implying they didn't have an articulable reason and they were all a benefit to the business. Makes no sense.

    1. Twilight

      Re: Forget the legalities a minute

      You're forgetting that "long-term planning" at US companies is now a MAXIMUM of 2 years. The older workers tend to be more highly paid so, if we replace them with new grads with little or no experience, the permanent (capital?) expenditures go down on the stock report so the stock price goes up... in the short-term until the move causes tons of problems for the company down the road (by which point there's a fair chance that the C-suite has already switched out (and the high-mid managers may have moved on as well)).

      Stupid stuff like this happens ALL THE TIME at big US corporations...

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Forget the legalities a minute

        Every single day, in fact.

        Growing a corporation is so last century. Asset stripping and stock boosting is what all the cool kids are doing.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Forget the legalities a minute

      It will never make sense because psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists are never logical.

  16. heyrick Silver badge

    What's the logic here?

    They pay out, but accept no responsibility. How does that work? If they weren't guilty they wouldn't pay a penny. That they paid... implies they are guilty (and they know it).

    1. Twilight

      Re: What's the logic here?

      Common legal tactic (in the US at least). Agree to a settlement without admitting guilt (or, in this case, still claiming innocence). There is now the legal fiction that you weren't guilty of anything (if you weren't convicted in court, it didn't happen).

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: What's the logic here?

      Legal fictions have been a thing long before any of us were born.

  17. Eric Kimminau TREG

    How do I get in?

    Worked for HP/HPE for 7 years. Shitcanned the day before Thanksgiving in 2016 on Friday, told I didnt need to work on Monday. THe project I was working on was delayed 2.5 years after my departure. I won a CIO award the previous year.

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