back to article Ex-IBM staff ask US Supremes for help in bringing age-discrimination battle to court

Twenty-nine former IBM employees who were denied the opportunity to sue the IT giant for age discrimination by arbitration agreements have petitioned the US Supreme Court to let them bring their claims to court. Their petition [PDF], filed by attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, a partner at Boston-based law firm Lichten & Liss- …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Bias

    Where is "Bosses should be able to hire people as they see fit" brigade?

    Or "You don't have to work at IBM!"

    Or "Just don't get old. Lolzies"

  2. Innique

    This is an issue not at just IBM but HP and Microsoft. How is it any of them in the settlement agreements can say if you want this money you have to agree to never work for us again. I know I signed the same thing at all three. Now MS owns Linkedin, Gethub, and soon Netflix, so my employment opportunities are limited, even though IBM has expressed interest in bringing me back. How is this still allowed and is it something you should be asking in your interview that you can not limit my rights by saying who I can and can't work for. It only takes one small minded manager to put you on the curb.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      An even more interesting variant is what happens if one signs such an agreement, joins another company that is then taken over by the ex-employer? Or the converse, what happens if part of the company is floated off subsequently? Could one go back to the new company? And what if it was the part of the the old company from which the employee had been made redundant?

      On similar lines I knew someone who said he'd been made redundant twice (or possibly 3 times) by the same CCEO moving from one company to another.

    2. Groo The Wanderer Silver badge

      Bottom line: there is no weasel as slippery as the corporate lawyer defending the CEO and management.

  3. IGotOut Silver badge

    Got to love the USA...

    ....where employment "contracts" can override the law.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Got to love the USA...

      In the UK you have updated IR35 that essentially is employment without any rights. Deemed employer can legally pay below minimum wage or terminate contract for any reason (e.g. if they find deemed employee is pregnant).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Got to love the USA...

        As a leftpondian, my initial research into this seems to indicate that IR35 concerns contractors, and not employees. It seems to be aimed at preventing tax fraud wherein a company claims to have someone on as a subcontractor but who they treat as an employee.

        Are you complaining about the fact that misclassified workers exist, that IR35 allows them to exist, or that IR35 should be supplemented by auxiliary legislation which would convert those contracted workers into employees from a rights perspective? Something else entirely? The ex-IBM employees in the article were absolutely classified correctly, and IGotOut was talking about employment contracts instead of engagement contracts, so your non sequitur has me a bit confused.

        1. lglethal Silver badge
          Go

          Re: Got to love the USA...

          IR35 was in theory a good thing, as far too many firms were abusing it. However, the implementation was a complete shitshow, and has killed off huge numbers of contracting jobs, and hurt government agencies more than probably anyone else. It is something that needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, but that's not likely< to happen anytime soon.

          However, there's a lot of people who are or were contractors caught up in this mess that like to try to shove their complaints into any forum they can, whether they're relevant to the discussion at hand or not. I'd suggest ignoring them on any article not actually related to IR35. It is absolutely not relevant here...

        2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: Got to love the USA...

          It seems to be aimed at preventing tax fraud wherein a company claims to have someone on as a subcontractor but who they treat as an employee.

          If this legislation was about that, then big consultancies operating exactly the same business model wouldn't be exempt. It only affects businesses where the owner is performing the service. So if a big consultancy sends workers that would be classed as "in-scope", they are allowed to make profit.

          The real goal of IR35 is to prevent talented developer from big consultancy from leaving and starting talented developer ltd working directly with big consultancy former clients and it has created a whole host of unintended consequences, like mentioned no rights employment.

          IR35 legislation is probably the most corrupt we have and should be scrapped, because it is trying to address a problem that doesn't exist to protect interests of big firms. HMRC has lost majority of IR35 cases and they only bring those they think they have a chance to win and being backed by bottomless tax payer purse, they have made a mess of case law in the process.

          or that IR35 should be supplemented by auxiliary legislation which would convert those contracted workers into employees from a rights perspective?

          IR35 can't be fixed and HMRC has not demonstrated that there was a large scale "tax fraud" going on that would warrant such approach.

          was talking about employment contracts instead of engagement contracts, so your non sequitur has me a bit confused.

          Currently nothing can stop a UK business from deciding "from today we are only hiring deemed employees".

          My point was that we have something worse in terms of employment rights.

  4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Joke

    The Supremes

    If Ginny was still heading IBM, it could have been...

    Diana Ross[Ginni Rometty] and The Supremes

  5. Ace2 Silver badge

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    Yeah, sure, the Trumpkins on our current SCOTUS are going to make it easier to win age discrimination suits!

    Ha ha ha ha ha

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      More importantly, the Roberts court hasn't shown a lot of interest in most topics that aren't on the justices' personal agendas. "Oh, you have a criminal case against a former President raising one of the most critical Constitutional questions of the present century? Nah, can't be bothered. We're too busy plotting to overturn Chevron, while our Chief Justice pays lip service to stare decisis."

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Allow lawsuits for law violations

    As age discrimination is illegal, perhaps a change in the law that says "lawsuits alleging that companies are violating the law can always bypass any arbitration requirement" would be in order

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