From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
Aug. 23 — Hewlett Packard jettisoned older employees in an effort to transform itself from an “old” company into a “younger” operation, a putative class action against the Silicon Valley technology company alleged ( Forsyth v. HP Inc., N.D. Cal., No. 5:16-cv-04775, complaint filed 8/18/16 ).
Laid-off employees in their 50s and 60s accuse HP of violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and state laws in a series of workforce reductions starting in 2012 as the company split into two enterprises, with the stated goal of squeezing out older workers while hiring thousands of workers under age 40.
“Any excuse HP puts forth to justify its illegal age discrimination is a pretext,” the lawsuit filed Aug. 18 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said.
Hewlett-Packard Co. split into HP Inc., which sells personal computers and printers, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co., which supplies businesses with high-end technology, both operating in Palo Alto, Calif.
HP CEO Meg Whitman openly stated that her goal was to change from a “labor diamond” into a “labor pyramid” or a “quite flat triangle” with large numbers of young people at its base, the lawsuit said.
Older workers were statistically more likely to be laid off under HP’s workforce reduction plans than were younger employees, the lawsuit said.
“We are aware of the claims, deny them and plan to defend against them,” an HP spokesman told Bloomberg BNA in an Aug. 23 e-mail.
HP laid off more than 33,000 workers when it split into the two enterprises.
Senior management gave specific numbers of employees to be permanently laid off, such as “master level scientists,” and simultaneously gave specific numbers of “new requisition orders,” calling for hiring college graduates or entry level employees, the lawsuit said.
HP’s written guidelines stated the new policy “requires 75 percent of all External hire requisitions be ‘Graduate’ or ‘Early Career’ employees,” the lawsuit said. Early career was defined as someone with up to five years’ experience related to the job being filled, and a graduate hire was someone who was about to graduate or graduated within the past 12 months.
Early phased retirement programs were used to push out older workers, and those who didn’t retire were laid off, the lawsuit said.
HP in internal documents said anyone born between 1930 and 1946 “could be considered a `Traditionalist’ who moves `slow and steady’ and seeks ‘part time work.’ ” Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, were considered “to be ‘rule breakers,’ implying that this was undesirable,” the lawsuit said. Hiring millennials was highly desirable, it said.
“HP’s decision to define and refer to entire segments of its employees as `slow and steady’ or `rule breakers’ based on the year in which those employees were born is not only callous, but is at the heart of the very type of discrimination that the ADEA and similar California laws were intended to prohibit. Furthermore, promoting such stereotypes only further exacerbates unjustified biases against large portions of HP’s workforce based entirely on age,” the lawsuit said.
The four plaintiffs, aged 52, 54, 62 and 63, seek to represent a national class of employees fired by HP in violation of the ADEA. A separate California class covers those HP employees terminated in California in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, California public policy and Calif. Bus. & Profs. Code Section 17200, the State Unfair Business Practices Act.
Jennie Lee Anderson of Andrus Anderson LLP in San Francisco, and Douglas Dehler and Paul Zimmer of O’Neil, Cannon, Hollman, DeJong & Laing S.C. in Milwaukee represent the plaintiffs. No attorney was listed on the docket for HP.
To contact the reporter on this story: Joyce E. Cutler in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at email@example.com
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)