HP hit with age-discrimination suit claiming older workers purged – Mercury News

Four former workers have filed an age discrimination suit against the Palo Alto tech icon.

Source: HP hit with age-discrimination suit claiming older workers purged – Mercury News

Thanks to both Rahel Bailie and Tina Howe for posting this on Facebook originally.

Reading this article gave me shivers down my spine. It truly bothers me (which is an understatement) that workers over 40 years of age are considered “old” in the workplace now, especially at a tech giant like HP. Some of the precendents that are outlined in this article seem outdated (even if it’s only been 3 years) and misinformed somehow. Yes, in the U.S., we still have a retirement age of 65 (for now), but as time goes on and the population ages, the average life span continues to get older and older, which means that potentially, we could work longer if we wanted. Why cut us off mid-span, when we are just starting to hit our peak? As I’ve mentioned in other places, I can agree that younger people can bring in fresh ideas and know-how, but the 40-plus age group can bring wisdom and can still have that curiousity that the young’uns have as well. We are not limited by age at all. We just become more expensive due to our experiences, is my best guess, and companies are more interested in profits than people more often than not. It’s sad that HP is turning into one of those companies.  I’m hoping this is not going to start being a bad trend similar to when Marissa Mayer decided that telecommuting was a bad thing, but then built a nursery next to her office so she could be with her kids.  She set a bad precendence that damaged the progress made with remote workers everywhere. While I’ve heard of unofficial rumors about similar practices at other companies, I hope that HP is not one of those companies, and will come to their senses if they are engaging in this practice.  It will end badly if they are found to be guilty of age discrimination. It will be interesting to see how this case goes forward.

What do you think? Include your comments below.

–TechCommGeekMom

 

About TechCommGeekMom

Danielle M. Villegas is a technical communicator who has recently started her own technical communications consultancy, Dair Communications. She has worked at the International Refugee Committee, MetLife, Novo Nordisk, and BASF North America, with a background in content strategy, web content management, social media, project management, e-learning, and client services. Danielle is best known in the technical communications world for her blog, TechCommGeekMom.com, which has continued to flourish since it was launched during her graduate studies at NJIT in 2012. She has presented webinars and seminars for Adobe, the Society for Technical Communication (STC), the IEEE ProComm, and at Drexel University’s eLearning Conference. She has written articles for the STC Intercom, STC Notebook, the Content Rules blog, and The Content Wrangler as well. You can learn more about Danielle on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/daniellemvillegas, on Twitter @techcommgeekmom, or through her blog.
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4 Responses to HP hit with age-discrimination suit claiming older workers purged – Mercury News

  1. Larry Kunz says:

    Yes, it’ll be interesting to see how the case goes forward. Unfortunately, even if HP ends up paying out a bunch of money (probably in a settlement with no admission of wrongdoing), I don’t think it’s going to change the culture.

    You asked “Why cut us off mid-span, when we are just starting to hit our peak?” Two reasons:
    1) Because it costs more to employ us than it does to employ “early career people.”
    2) Because they can get away with it. 😦

    • I fear, Larry, that I agree with your assessment 100%. I’ve come to the same conclusions myself, and it’s rather disheartening, to say the least. Even though I’m considered “old” now in my upper 40s, I still find I can learn from my colleagues who are older than me and have been around the block more times than me.

  2. kcburke says:

    I was a technical writer at McKesson and saw it happen to several of my colleagues before it happened to me. New hires with no background in technical communications took over our responsibilities. We were sidelined on projects, marginalized and eventually eliminated with no warning, like criminals.

    • That’s horrible! Oddly enough, I saw a Facebook post from a high school classmate who was essentially being forced to retire–at age 48! She was a scientist from a Fortune 100 (if not Fortune 25) company, and had been with them since she got out of college. With teenage boys to support as a single mom, she was fortunate that she could land on her feet and found another position. But still–forced retirement at 48? That’s crazy.

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