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IBM executives called older workers 'dinobabies' who should be 'extinct' in internal emails

Business Insider US
Sergio Perez/Reuters
  • IBM execs called older workers "dinobabies" in emails made public in a discrimination lawsuit on Friday.
  • The documents show IBM's plans "to oust older employees from its workforce," the plaintiff alleged.
  • IBM spokesman Chris Mumma told Insider that the company has "never engaged in systemic age discrimination."
  • For more stories visit Business Insider.

Internal emails show IBM executives calling older workers "dinobabies" and discussing plans to make them "an extinct species," according to a Friday filing in an ongoing age discrimination lawsuit against the company. 

The documents were submitted as evidence of IBM's efforts "to oust older employees from its workforce," and replace them with millennial workers, the plaintiff alleged. It's the latest development in a legal battle that first began in 2018, when former employees sued IBM after the company fired tens of thousands of workers over 40-years-old

One high-ranking executive, whose name was redacted from the lawsuit, said IBM had a "dated maternal workforce."

"This is what must change," the email continues, per the filing. "They really don't understand social or engagement. Not digital natives. A real threat for us."

The exchanges are "highly incriminating" and "reflects age animus from IBM's highest ranks," plaintiff Shannon Liss-Riordan wrote. Liss-Riordan is a well-known employment lawyer who has represented workers in cases against Google, Amazon, and Uber. 

IBM spokesman Chris Mumma told Insider that the company has "never engaged in systemic age discrimination," and said "IBM separated employees because of changing business conditions, not because of their age." 

In 2020, the median age of IBM's US workforce was 48, the same as it was ten years prior, he added.

"Some language in emails between former IBM executives that has been reported is not consistent with the respect IBM has for its employees," IBM shared in a statement. 

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