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International Business Machines (IBM) is currently facing several lawsuits over age discrimination directly related to its ongoing layoffs in United States. According to its former human resources vice president Alan Wild, IBM has axed as many as 100,000 employees in recent years, to make the corporate image more appealing to Millennials — positioning itself as a “cool, trendy organisation” like Google or Amazon instead of an “old fuddy-duddy organisation”.
IBM denied the allegation and sought to reassure that the 108-year-old company does not discriminate based on age.
“We have reinvented IBM in the past five years to target higher value opportunities for our clients. The company hires 50,000 employees each year, and spends nearly a half-billion dollars on training our team. We also receive more than 8000 job applications every day, the highest rate that we’ve ever experienced, so there’s clear excitement about IBM’s strategy and direction for the future,” said IBM in a statement to Bloomberg.
IBM has not stop firing workers amid the ongoing lawsuits. Last month, Big Blue laid off 2000 employees who were not performing at “a competitive level”, as part of its strategy to “re-position its team to align with its focus on the high value segments of the IT market while aggressively hiring in critical new areas that deliver value for its clients and IBM”.
A representative from a class-action lawsuit filed in New York indicated that IBM started the purge back in 2014. The lawsuit pointed out that IBM’s 2006 internal report on employee demographics referred older workers as “grey hairs” and “old heads”, and concluded that younger workers were “generally much more innovative and receptive to technology than baby boomers”.