Unfortunately, it’s not unusual to hear a story about an older employee being replaced by a younger employee who will do the same job for a fraction of the cost. What may come as a surprise, though, are IBM’s unusual strategies taken with its employees and its company as a whole. Older workers have been laid off, disclosures have stopped, WARN Act notices have stopped with plant closures and telecommuting has ended within the IBM workplace. Some think these actions could result in successful age discrimination cases against IBM.
JGL attorney Jay Holland recently sat down with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to discuss some of these workplace changes at IBM, and weigh in on the recent allegations that IBM had violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. According to Holland, IBM is using "whatever tools might be available in the toolbox to minimize its legal exposure and avoid negative publicity associated with larger-scale layoffs," he said. The article discusses several strategies IBM is using to avoid having to provide notices under the Older Workers’ Protection Act, and the WARN Act. Regarding the use of these tools, Holland says, “It remains to be seen if the strategy will be legally sustainable.”
As chair of the firm’s Labor, Employment, and Qui Tam Whistleblower practice, Holland is a frequent lecturer and writer on labor, employment law, and False Claims Act cases and is often called upon to present to bar associations and other organizations. He co-chairs the Employment Law Section of the Prince George’s County Bar Association and is active in the Employment Law sections of the Maryland State Bar Association and American Bar Association. He also on the Executive Board of the Qui Tam Section of the Federal Bar Association.
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