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Age discrimination case against HP can proceed


A U.S. District Court judge in San Jose, California, has refused to dismiss age discrimination claims in a class-action lawsuit filed against HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. by former employees, stating they had provided sufficient evidence to proceed.

Judge Edward J. Davila did dismiss several other claims against HPI and HPE, according to Monday’s ruling in Donna J. Forsyth, et al. v HP Inc. et al.  The litigation, which now includes 36 plaintiffs, was first filed in 2016.

Plaintiffs in the case charge that beginning in 2012 Hewlett- Packard Co. began implementing a companywide initiative to replace thousands of older workers with younger employees. Hewlett-Packard Co. split into Palo Alto, California-based HP Inc. and San Jose-based Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. in 2015.

Internal documents from July 2015 referred to anyone born between 1930 and 1946 as “slow and steady,” while those born between 1946 and 1964 “were considered to be ‘rule breakers’ which implies they are undesirable,” according to the ruling.

In refusing to dismiss claims under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and state law, the court said, “Plaintiffs have alleged facts that show that managers were required to terminate older employees because such employees were ‘old.’” 

“They have also alleged facts that plausibly show that older employees were terminated based on antiquated stereotypes,” the ruling said.

“These pleadings, coupled with the general age animus demonstrated” by former HP CEO Meg Whitman, “support Plaintiffs’ theory that Plaintiffs’ age (i.e. their protected trait) was the cause of their termination,” the ruling said.

Among other rulings in the case, the court agreed to dismiss claims asserted against HPI by non-HPI employees, and claims asserted against HPE by non-HPE employees.

A plaintiff attorney had no comment, while an attorney for the companies could not be reached.