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IBM Fired Up to 100,000 Older Employees to Make Room for Millennials, Lawsuit Alleges



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8/02/2019

IBM Fired Up to 100,000 Older Employees to Make Room for Millennials, Lawsuit Alleges

By 
Olivia Carville
 and 
Bloomberg

International Business Machines has fired as many as 100,000 employees in the last few years in an effort to boost its appeal to millennials and make it appear to be as “cool” and “trendy” as Amazon and Google, according to a deposition from a former vice president in an ongoing age discrimination lawsuit.

The technology company is facing several lawsuits accusing it of firing older workers, including a class-action case in Manhattan and individual civil suits filed in California, Pennsylvania, and Texas last year.

“We have reinvented IBM in the past five years to target higher value opportunities for our clients,” IBM said in a statement. “The company hires 50,000 employees each year.”




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Big Blue has struggled with almost seven straight years of shrinking revenue. In the last decade, the company has fired thousands of people in the U.S., Canada, and other high-wage jurisdictions in an effort to cut costs and retool its workforce after coming late to the cloud-computing and mobile-tech revolutions. The number of IBM employees has fallen to its lowest point in six years, with 350,600 global workers at the end of 2018—a 19% reduction since 2013.

In a deposition in one of the civil cases, Alan Wild, former vice president of human resources, said IBM had “laid off 50,000 to 100,000 employees in just the last several years,” according to a court document filed Tuesday in Texas.

In his deposition, Wild said 108-year-old IBM faced talent recruitment problems and determined one way to show millennials that IBM was not “an old fuddy duddy organization” was to make itself appear “as [a] cool, trendy organization” like Alphabet’s Google and Amazon, according to the document. To do that, IBM set out to slough off large portions of its older workforce using rolling layoffs over the course of several years, according to court documents.



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This strategy deliberately targeted older workers like the plaintiff, Texas-based Jonathan Langley, 61, who has accused IBM of firing him after more than 24 years because of his age, according to the document. IBM filed a motion to dismiss Langley’s case. On Tuesday, his lawyers filed an opposition to that motion.

The opposition included comments from Wild’s deposition, which was obtained under oath and is still under seal. Wild worked at IBM for almost eight years and left his role last October, according to his LinkedIn page. Wild said he couldn’t comment on the issue.

IBM began working to “correct [its] seniority mix” in 2014, according to the class-action lawsuit filed in New York. The company started firing older workers and replacing them with millennials, who IBM’s consulting department said “are generally much more innovative and receptive to technology than baby boomers.”



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Last month, Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM cut about 2,000 employees. “We are continuing to re-position our team to align with our focus on the high value segments of the IT market—while aggressively hiring in critical new areas that deliver value for our clients and IBM,” the company said in a statement at the time.

Last March, ProPublica published an extensive investigation that found IBM had fired an estimated 20,000 U.S. employees ages 40 or older in the past five years.

In 2015, an IBM spokesman denied a Forbes report that the company would be laying off 100,000 employees—or a quarter of its workforce—in the coming years, dismissing the claims in an interview with USA Today as “ridiculous” and “baseless.”






    
   
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8/02/2019

美科技巨头“花式劝退”老员工,数万人丢掉饭碗

为了吸引千禧一代年轻人,让公司看起来和亚马逊、谷歌一样“新潮炫酷”,IBM在过去几年炒掉的员工数量可能高达10万人。


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每经记者:蔡鼎 每经编辑:郑直

美国时间7月31日,前IBM人力资源副总裁阿兰·瓦尔德在法庭作证时称:

为了吸引千禧一代年轻人,让公司看起来和亚马逊、谷歌一样“新潮炫酷”,IBM在过去几年炒掉的员工数量可能高达10万人。

每经小编注意到,IBM因为涉嫌绕开法律进行年龄歧视,目前面临多起诉讼。从曼哈顿、加州到宾夕法尼亚和德州,都有被IBM裁掉的前员工发起民事诉讼。

前HR副总作证:裁员5万-10万人

德州法庭文件显示,瓦尔德在一桩民事诉讼中作证时称,IBM在过去短短几年时间内就裁掉了“5万至10万名”员工。

他表示,有着108年历史的“蓝巨人”在人才招聘策略上,决心向千禧一代年轻人展示IBM并不是一家“老古董”公司。为了让公司看起来是一家与谷歌、IBM类似的“既酷又新潮的公司”,IBM在过去几年通过“滚动裁员”的方式裁减了大部分老员工。



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IBM的这一策略故意针对像61岁的乔纳森·兰利(诉讼原告)这样的老员工。

法庭文件显示,兰利指控IBM在他供职24多年后将他解雇,原因就是他的年龄问题。

IBM已经提交动议,请求法院驳回兰利的诉讼。7月31日,兰利的律师针对IBM的动议向法院提交了反对依据,其中包括瓦尔德的证词。职业社交网站领英的资料显示,瓦尔德在IBM工作了近8年时间,在2018年10月离职。瓦尔德对此不予置评。

其实早在2015年,《福布斯》杂志的一篇报道称,IBM将在未来几年裁员10万人,占据员工总量的四分之一。当时IBM发言人对此反驳称,这一报道“可笑,没有依据”。

根据另外一桩在纽约曼哈顿的集体诉讼文件,IBM从2014年开始“修正老员工比重”,着手解雇老员工,并使用千禧一代取代他们。IBM咨询部门称,千禧一代要远比婴儿潮一代更具创新能力,乐于接受技术。

今年6月,IBM裁员大约2000人。IBM当时在声明中称,

“我们正不断重新配置我们的团队,从而与我们专注于IT市场高附加值领域的目标保持一致,同时在能够为我们的客户和公司创造价值的重要新领域大力招募员工。”


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美国媒体:近五年至少裁员2万人

2018年3月,新闻调查网站ProPublica发布了一份深度调查报告。该站记者拿到许多IBM内部文件,发现IBM在过去5年大约炒掉了2万名40岁以上的美国员工,约占这几年被裁美国员工总数的60%。


在设法查阅了IBM的内部文件、法律文件和公共记录,并采访调查了逾1000名IBM前员工后,ProPublica发现,IBM涉嫌绕开美国法律监管,擅自开除年龄较大的员工。

比如,美国平等就业法规定,被裁员的员工可以要求公司披露本轮被裁员工和留任员工的平均年龄,以便仲裁机构判断公司是否有针对大龄员工的歧视。

不过,IBM拒绝透露已裁员人数,也拒绝透露决定裁员与否的年龄标准线。IBM不但拒绝向相关员工提供此类信息,还要求他们签字放弃自己的申诉权,以及放弃协同他人寻求赔偿的权力。


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与此同时,IBM还采用种种招数,掩盖自己对大龄员工的歧视:

即便某些老员工工作表现突出,IBM也会将其列为裁员对象,并以他们不熟悉某些技术为理由挤兑他们;

把裁员说成退休,并采取种种措施鼓励员工自己辞职。这些举措减少了纸面上的裁员数目,因此不致刺激公众,使其提出披露具体数目的要求;


一面鼓励裁员对象申请其他职位,一面暗中怂恿经理不要接受他们,同时还要求许多员工培训接班人;

告诉某些年长的员工说其技能已经过时,然后把他们转为非正式工(类似于派遣工),之后他们往往还做以前的工作,但收入和福利都大不如从前。


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IBM转型急需年轻一代

“年龄歧视和性骚扰一样,一直是行业公开的秘密。”美国平等就业委员会代理主席利普尼克这样评价IBM的做法。

在数十年前称霸业界的时代,IBM在美国的员工人数曾一度增至25万。后来IBM不但将种族平等、男女同工同酬等目标逐一纳入规划,而且提供了业界无人能及的高薪和近乎终身雇佣的制度。

为此,IBM鼓励员工要有主人翁意识,把公司利益当做自己家的利益来考虑。

直到上世纪八十年代,IBM还在一份员工手册中称:“一旦发生经济衰退或遇生产方向大变,人事就势必变动。某些企业会用裁员来适应新局面,但IBM却会再培训、再分配甚至再安置原有员工。”

后来,由于接连错失芯片技术革新、移动互联网带来的浪潮,IBM逐渐无法维持原有的员工福利和高薪了。如今,IBM更倾向于用低薪、经验差的年轻员工取代高薪、经验丰富的老员工,以及用敏于接受新事物的员工取代风格固化的员工。

2014年,IBM公司转型提出CAMS服务,即云服务、大数据、移动、社交媒体。

在IBM咨询部门做的一张PPT报告中指出,千禧一代非常适合CAMS方面的工作。这份报告后来被当作集体诉讼时的证据,证明IBM早有针对老员工的裁员计划。





这份报告称,千禧一代有着“数字原生代、追求真实、用于创新、设计天赋”的特点,和CAMS业务所需的特质很契合。

为此,老员工被视作为裁员目标,在评职时受到更严苛的评估。尽管IBM强调公司一切都符合法律,但是员工想要领取遣散费,就必须接受私下仲裁。

也就是说,如果员工因为年龄大了感觉自己要被放弃了,必须单独提出并保密,这样才能拿到遣散费。因为保密而增加了外界收集证据的难度。在硅谷,这种做法完全合法并且被广泛运用。

许多前员工都公开表示,他们曾尝试在IBM公司内部或在新技术领域中寻找新岗位,但仅有少数人找到了工作。许多人都表示,整个行业中年龄歧视的问题普遍存在。












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