HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company are facing a proposed class action that accuses the tech firms of discriminating against current and former African-American employees and job applicants, as well as individuals over 40 years old.
HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company have been named as defendants in a proposed class action that accuses the tech firms of discriminating against current and former African-American employees and job applicants, as well as individuals over 40 years old. According to the lawsuit, the defendants employed discriminatory hiring, promoting, and lay-off policies that favored younger, Caucasian employees, with performance evaluation processes allegedly handled by an “overwhelmingly Caucasian group of selectors.” The defendants' policies and internal infrastructure, the lawsuit alleges, "expressly and impliedly" discourages proposed class members from seeking higher paying and higher-responsibility positions.
In May 2012, HP reportedly launched a Workforce Restructuring Plan, with the goal of which to remove employees over 40 through an “early retirement” program and to replace the workers with young IT professionals, the suit alleges. Two of the four named plaintiffs, who are both African-American and over the age of 40, were allegedly told they were being terminated due to “restructuring.” The complaint notes, however, that both men performed “better or at least equal to” their Caucasian and/or younger counterparts who were not terminated. Further, the suit argues that the defendants then hired or promoted younger, Caucasian employees in the plaintiffs' respective departments despite the purported “restructuring” strategy. The plaintiffs claim that the company employed “very few” African-Americans in high-level positions above the district manager level.
The other two named plaintiffs say they originally worked for the defendants as contract employees before being hired full-time. The plaintiffs say they observed that Caucasian contractors were brought on full-time much quicker than African-American individuals. According to the lawsuit, the defendants practiced a “tap on the shoulder” policy by which HP awarded higher paying jobs to Caucasian employees rather than post the open positions and allow for non-discriminatory competition. When they did post jobs, the case continues, the defendants supposedly passed over African-American applicants and instead promoted less-qualified Caucasian individuals into the new positions.
The lawsuit alleges the defendants’ discriminatory practices have harmed the careers of African-American employees and workers over 40, causing them to lose wages and benefits they would have received in a non-discriminatory work environment.
“The Representative Plaintiffs seek remedies to undo the adverse effects of such discrimination in their own lives, careers and working conditions and to prevent such in the future,” the complaint states.