You May Be Surprised to Learn That Age Discrimination Is Real

Man holding a cardboard box with itemsCan you get fired for being too old? A Texas man recently sued IBM for age discrimination, becoming the latest employee to accuse the tech giant of terminating employees due to their age.

Is this part of a larger trend for IBM? Here's what you should know about the organization that employs about 6,000 tech workers in the Austin metro area.

Allegations of Age Discrimination

Jonathan Langley had worked at IBM for 24 years before getting laid off last year. The 60-year-old former salesman claims that he was let go because of his age, and filed an age discrimination lawsuit in federal court.

Langley claims that IBM was untruthful with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) about the grounds for his termination. IBM argues that Langley's age had nothing to do with his firing, stating it was based on other factors. Langley's lawsuit alleges that a month after he was let go, he received a letter from IBM referring to his "retirement."

Investigation Suggests Widespread Problem

Langley's accusations fit a trend exposed by a March 2018 investigation by ProPublica and Mother Jones. The report found that over the past five years, IBM has fired over 20,000 employees who were over age 40. That figure makes up about 60 percent of IBM's total job cuts in the U.S.

Like in Langley's case, the study found that IBM was also labeling these firings as voluntary retirements. The report resulted in the EEOC opening an investigation into potential age discrimination of employees by the company. This alarming case is one to keep an eye on if you are "over a certain age."