This class action sues HP Enterprise Services, LLC and HP, Inc., for a Workforce Reduction Plan that the complaint says discriminates by age. It points out that, as of October 2015, over 85% of California-based workers terminated under the plan are 40 years of age or older.
The complaint says, “In 2012, the median age of HP’s workforce was 39 years old, the oldest in the tech industry.” This means that HP’s labor costs were higher, since older workers tend to have more experience and are paid accordingly. That same year, the company began its “2012 US Workforce Reduction Plan,” which the complaint calls “a scheme to terminate its older, higher paid employees and replace them with younger, lower paid employees.”
The complaint offers the statements of a number of parties that support this allegation:
Meg Whitman in 2013, during her time as CEO, on the advantages of the plan: “It also helps us from a cost perspective … if your labor pyramid isn’t the right shape, you’re carrying a lot of extra cost.” Also, “Changing the shape of your labor pyramid takes a couple of years, but we are on it, and we’re amping up our early career hiring, our college hiring.”
HP’s CFO Cathie Lesjak: “We hire at a higher level than what we really need to do. And the smarter thing to do would be to prime the pipeline, bring in fresh new grads and kind of promote from within as opposed to hiring a really experienced person that is going to be much more expensive.”
Meg Whitman in 2015: The plan “will allow us to right size our enterprise services business … to make sure that we have a labor pyramid with lots of young people coming in right out of college and graduate school and early in their careers.”
HP purportedly offers terminated workers a “preferential rehire period,” but the complaint says this is illusory: “If  older employees are even offered a job, the job is rarely, if at all, comparable to the one that employee held before he or she was terminated.” Beginning in 2014, the complaint says, terminated employees became completely ineligible for rehiring.
The complaint also claims that HP’s Human Resources written guidelines state, “New corporate requisition policy requires 75% of all External hire requisitions be ‘Graduate’ or ‘Early Career’ employees.”
Also, the complaint alleges that HP had no-poach agreements with Intuit and 3D Systems, and between its own two parts after its split. These, it says, violate antitrust laws.
Two classes have been proposed for this class action.