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IBM faces another age discrimination case

by on21 June 2024

This time, former top executives

Biggish Blue is facing another age discrimination lawsuit, this time alongside its spin-off company,  Kyndryl.

The complaint, filed in New York City, represents five veteran executives and employees. Among the  IBM plaintiffs are  Michael Nolan, former Director of Strategy and Planning for IBM's Software Unit;  Karla Bousquet, former VP and CEO of Events at IBM;  Jay Zeltzer, former Business Automation Leader; and  Teresa Cook , former VP of Client Experience. Meanwhile,  Randall Blanchard, a former Services Account Manager, is suing Kyndryl, having previously worked with  Biggish Blue.

Despite IBM's chief global HR officer, Nickel LaMoreaux, rejecting what she characterised as 'false claims of systemic age discrimination' in 2022, the lawsuit argues that the mainframe giant persistently and allegedly continues to target older workers, a claim that demands immediate attention.

The legal filing cites a 2021 case, Townsley v. International Business Machines Corp, in which executive Sam Ladah, accused of attempting 'to keep ageist IBM executive-level planning documents confidential,' revealed that these documents from five to six years earlier were still being used for hiring decisions.

To further support the claim that the targeting of older workers persists, the complaint states, 'A recently leaked video of CEO Arvind Krishna confirms that IBM continues using secretive top-down pressure to manipulate its workforce to reflect the demographic preferences of its executives.'

The 2023 video, published by conservative political activist James O'Keefe, appears to show Krishna linking manager bonuses to diversity targets. In this context, such targets are alleged to be discriminatory.

Essentially, IBM has been accused of potentially threatening to withhold bonuses from bosses unless they hire a diverse enough range of tech professionals, including more Hispanic and Black individuals.

Unfortunately, this approach has led to qualified candidates, including Asian people and others, being potentially overlooked based on their race.

The latest lawsuit also highlights Wimbish v. IBM, an age discrimination complaint filed in September by two human resources managers.

According to the complaint, these terminated HR managers alleged that IBM's HR still consistently considers an employee's 'runway' when determining whether that worker should be let go. 'Runway' is coded language for how long IBM HR expects an employee to remain at the company before retiring, serving as a direct proxy for age.

Last modified on 21 June 2024
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