American workers are protected from discrimination on many fronts. Employers are supposed to hire and promote based on what people bring to the table. They’re not allowed to discriminate against employees on the basis of race, gender, religion, age and more. People in California should understand their protections.

Aging out at IBM

A recent investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that IBM systematically discriminated against their older employees. Whenever it was time for layoffs, about 85% of the affected employees were older. This is a big problem. It’s been illegal to discriminate against workers over 40 since the passage of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. That legislation passed over 50 years ago.

The fact that IBM was the company involved in this suit shocked many outside observers. In the past, this corporation was lauded for its attempts to make diversity and inclusion a part of corporate culture. Now, they’ve become associated with aggressive and self-defeating practices like suing their own chief diversity officer.

Older workers have value

Older workers bring a valuable perspective to the companies that employ them. They have experience with problem-solving that younger workers may not have. They’ve also seen lots of economic shifts during their careers and understand the best way to ride those situations out. Ultimately, companies that discriminate against workers over 40 tend to hurt themselves and not just because of penalties and fines.

Workers who suspect they’ve been subject to discrimination, when it comes to hiring, promotions or firing, should contact an experienced employment attorney. When employers violate the law, it is possible to hold them to account for that.