Intel Faces Age Discrimination Allegations Over Layoffs – Report

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Chip giant become latest tech firm to be investigated over alleged age bias by axing mostly older staff

Chip giant Intel is reportedly being investigated for alleged age discrimination practices during its massive jobs cull in 2016.

In April 2016 Intel had announced it was cutting 12,000 jobs, a restructuring that was on top of the 5,000 jobs (or five percent of its workforce) it cut in 2014.

But now the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is looking into whether those series of layoffs by Intel discriminated against older employees, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Age bias

Dozens of staff who were made redundant have sought advice on whether they could sue, and some filed complaints with the EEOC, people familiar with the matter told The Journal.

It should be noted that age discrimination is illegal in the United States thanks to the Employment Act, which became law in 1967.

But proving age discrimination can be difficult, and matters are not helped by it reportedly being a common practice in America, as it provides businesses with a smaller salary wage bill and lower benefits outlay.

However it is reported that at least in one round of layoffs involving 2,300 Intel staffers in May 2016, the average age of staff who were let go was 49 years old.

This was seven years older than the average age of staff who stayed, Intel documents viewed by the Journal show.

“Personnel decisions were based solely upon skills sets and business needs to support that evolution,” an Intel representative is reported to have said.

“Factors such as age, race, national origin, gender, immigration status, or other personal demographics were not part of the process when we made those decisions,” the Intel representative apparently added.

Tech discrimination?

Intel is not the first tech firm to be accused of discrimination practices.

In March this year IBM was similarly accused of flouting (allegedly) age discrimination laws in the United States by pushing out Big Blue staffers aged 40 and upwards, and replacing them with younger, and cheaper employees.

Microsoft is also dealing with hundreds of discrimination complaints from its staff, but these are thought to be mostly gender discrimination and sexual harassment related complaints, and not age discrimination.

Google meanwhile has also been rocked by a series of complaints recently, a move that provided an rare insight into internal tensions within its workforce.

One of Google’s former recruiters, Arne Wilberg, has also claimed he was fired for ignoring company orders to reject white and Asian male job applicants.

And prior to that Google was hit with another discrimination lawsuit after Tim Chevalier alleged he was fired for his liberal political activism whilst working for the company.

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