Executives at IBM
referred to the company’s older workers as “dinobabies” in internal email correspondences, according to a new age-discrimination lawsuit.
These emails were submitted as evidence in an ageism case that former IBM employees have brought against the company. The lawsuit, which first began in 2018, started after IBM eliminated jobs for more than 20,000 American employees over the age of 40, representing 60% of its total U.S. job cuts during those years, according to ProPublica.
Executives wanted to make the dinobabies “an extinct species,” the emails read.
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Labor attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan is representing hundreds of former IBM employees in the lawsuit, and alleges IBM executives were aware of a “companywide plan to oust older employees in order to make room for younger employees.”
One email from an IBM executive, whose name was redacted from the filing, referred to older employees’ perceived lack of understanding of the digital landscape as a danger for the company.
“This is what must change,” the email reads, per the filing. “They really don’t understand social or engagement. Not digital natives. A real threat for us.”
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IBM spokesman Chris Mumma told Insider the company has “never engaged in systemic age discrimination.” He went on to say that “IBM separated employees because of changing business conditions, not because of their age.”
IBM seemed to acknowledge the validity of the emails, while claiming they do not represent the company’s feelings toward its workers.
“Some language in emails between former IBM executives that has been reported is not consistent with the respect IBM has for its employees,” IBM said in a statement.