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Hewlett Packard faces age discrimination lawsuit

Four former employees sued Hewlett Packard for age discrimination, alleging they were fired as part of a sweeping five-year restructuring effort, “to make the company younger.”

The proposed class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in San Jose, California, on August 18. Both HP Inc. and HP Enterprise have been named defendants in the suit as the technology giant separated into two distinct companies in November 2015.

The plaintiffs, who range from 52 to 63 years of age, claimed they were wrongfully targeted on the basis of age in violation of state and federal laws. According to the complaint, “HP has hired a disproportionately large number of new employees under the age of 40 to replace employees aged 40 and older who were terminated.”

The plaintiffs were laid off when HP implemented a workplace reduction plan allegedly designed to purge older workers. The Palo Alto-based company announced 27,000 job cuts in 2012. Since then, it has slashed its workforce by 80,000 with the alleged goal of transforming itself, “from an ‘old’ company into a ‘younger’ operation.” HP argued its job cuts were based on valid reasons unrelated to age.

In addition, the complaint claimed HP’s human resources department issued discriminatory written hiring guidelines in 2013. The updated policy required 75 percent of outside hires to be young graduates or “early career” applicants.

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act and the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act protect employees over age 40 from workplace discrimination or discriminatory hiring practices.

If you suspect you have been terminated or otherwise discriminated against on the basis of your age, the employment attorneys at McCormack & Erlich can help you understand your rights under the law. Free consultations are available; call 415-296-8420.

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