Intel accused of age discrimination after worker layoffs

Intel is under investigation for alleged age discrimination, it has been reported.

The tech giant cut more than 10,000 jobs in 2016 and, following the layoffs, many of those told to leave the company sought legal advice about whether they could sue the company, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Evidence has revealed that the average age of those losing their jobs in May 2016 was 49, which is seven years older than the average age of employees that remained at the company.

Intel explained it was forced to let people go to pursue its strategy of becoming a company that "powers the cloud" rather than a legacy PC company. Although it refuses to accept that it got rid of those on the older end of the age spectrum.

"Personnel decisions were based solely upon skills sets and business needs to support that evolution," an Intel spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal when asked for comment. "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 US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is looking into whether ex-employee claims could end up in court (known as a class-action lawsuit) and the company can be held accountable for its actions. Even if the EEOC doesn't find Intel guilty, employees that feel they've been subject to discrimination can still launch civil lawsuits against the company if they wish.

This isn't the first case to be brought before the EEOC relating to age discrimination in the tech workplace. IBM is also looking into similar claims from ex-IBM employees who say the company made cuts for the same reasons.

In 2017, Intel stated it was on track to meet its 2020 diversity goal, despite suggestions that its record of hiring women and minorities had slowed.

Laurie Anstis, a senior associate solicitor at employment law firm Boyes Turner, said at the time: "Firms such as Intel and smaller companies need to make sure that hidden biases are uncovered. It is important to ensure that maintaining diversity is a core belief, while expanding the talent pool that you recruit from. Companies could write down goals and challenge themselves and measure progress against these."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.