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Both HPs allegedly axed people just for being old, California court told

Class-action lawsuit accuses IT giants of age discrimination in layoffs

An unhappy man

The two offshoots of Hewlett Packard have been hit with a class action lawsuit in the US, accusing the pre-split IT giant of discriminating against older employees during job culls.

The suit was filed with the US Northern District Court in San Jose, California, this week by four plaintiffs on behalf of former employees. It accuses both HP Inc and Hewlett Packard Enterprise of age discrimination and violations of the state's Fair Employment and Housing Act.

According to the complaint, while acting as both the unified HP and after the 2015 breakup, both companies unfairly targeted older employees when deciding which roles to cut during rounds of layoffs from 2012 to this year.

"HP has employed various tactics to effectuate its publicly-stated goal of making itself younger," the suit reads.

"In order to get younger, HP intentionally discriminated against its older employees by targeting them for termination pursuant to the WFR [workforce reduction] Plans, and then systematically replacing them with younger employees."

The former employees claim that, while the policy of targeting older employees began while HP was still a monolithic brand, the practice carried over to HP Inc and HP Enterprise when they were split off and embarked on their own efforts to cut jobs.

"When Hewlett-Packard Company split into the two Defendants in November 2015, the 2012 WFR Plan carried through to both HP, Inc and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, which implemented similarly-named WFR Plans," the suit alleges.

The suit goes on to cite comments made by HP Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman and statistics from the layoffs that the plaintiffs say help to prove that HP specifically targeted its older employees for job cuts in an effort to bulk up on younger workers.

The complaint asks for a jury trial to decide damages for a nationwide class of plaintiffs.

HPE denied the allegations in a statement provided to The Register.

"Hewlett Packard Enterprise has a longstanding commitment to the principles of equal employment opportunity and age inclusion is no exception," the statement reads.

"The decision to implement a workforce reduction is always difficult, but we are confident that our decisions were based on legitimate factors unrelated to age."

HP Inc did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication. ®

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