Age discrimination case against IBM in Texas leaks emails and documents through poor writing • The Register


An IBM age discrimination lawsuit filed in Texas last year has become a little less opaque after The register found an insufficiently drafted court document that discusses plans to present evidence obtained from emails and company documents.

The case involves 16 former Big Blue employees who claim that “IBM’s top executives created and attempted to cover up a multi-faceted” layoff and hire “program with the ultimate goal of rejuvenating the workforce. ‘work of IBM “.

Since the publication in 2018 of a report by ProPublica and Mother Jones alleging systematic efforts within IBM to get rid of older employees and conclusions to this effect By the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), there have been several lawsuits against IBM claiming the IT titan had engaged in a pattern of discriminatory behavior.

There is an ongoing case in New York involving several former IBM employees. Last April, another Texas case involving plaintiff Jonathan Langley was unexpectedly dismissed – and presumably settled.

The current Texas claim, Kinney et al v. International Business Machines Corporation, is treated by some of the same lawyers in the Langley case and The register understands that some previously uncovered executive communications may play a role in the latest litigation.

The Kinney case faces two legal hurdles. The first is to convince the judge that the employee arbitration agreements with IBM are the result of fraud and therefore should not prevent them from taking legal action.

The second is to convince the judge that plaintiffs should be able to sue in Texas rather than the places where they worked, an argument the judge dismissed in a previous ruling that the plaintiffs’ legal team is trying to overturn.

Someone is an april fool

An April court record, a response to IBM’s partial motion to dismiss the case because some plaintiffs do not reside in Texas, provides the court with “a snapshot of IBM documents that support a denial of a jurisdictional challenge. ‘IBM’.

The repository is meant to be redacted, with black bars across various sensitive parts of the text. But writing, usually done with a writing tool in an app like Adobe Acrobat Pro, did not take. The underlying text can be viewed by copying the hidden passage and pasting the results into a word processing application.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys present the judge with an overview of their evidence against Big Blue. Take the passage below, for example, which seeks to illustrate that Texas is a suitable location for business by claiming that IBM’s hiring strategy focused on places where young workers could be more easily hired. . He cites internal IBM documents that will be used as evidence and that were supposed to be redacted for now.

We have replaced the intended wording of the document with strikethrough text.

The court record claims that IBM executives deliberately orchestrated the simultaneous layoff and hiring of several thousand employees in strategic locations to achieve their specific goals. He continued, citing internal email messages:

The case further alleges that IBM’s location-based hiring strategy is motivated by “about six”high level decision makers. ‘”He mentions another email channel that talks about using computer modeling to do”general brush recommendations for remix / reskill“, calling these terms code to rejuvenate business units globally.

And he cites IBM spreadsheet column headers that “may reasonably correlate with – or even serve as a dog whistle for – age:”Bandaged‘level,’Time_In_Band_Yrs,Date of salary bracket,Mandate,PBC_Date,Technological capacity gap,‘and’Expected level of technical capacity.‘”

The most recent filing in the Texas case comes from IBM, which argued about two weeks ago that there was no reason for the court to overturn its decision to transfer the case to the appropriate jurisdictions. for the complainants.

IBM, still struggling with an email outage that was supposed to be resolved, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In the past, the company has denied discriminating on the basis of age. ®


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