It is nothing new when large entities are a target for something – it happens nearly every day and everyone wants a piece of the pie. According to a recently motivated class-action suit, Dell allegedly unfairly targeted women and employees over the age of 40 in recent layoffs.
The suit, launched by four former human-resources managers of Dell, are seeking US$500 million in their class-action suit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The four individuals, women, allege that the company and its ‘old boy network’ discriminated against women in pay, job placement, promotions and layoffs.
Back in May of 2007, Dell announced plans to show roughly 8,800 employees the door, about 10 percent of its workforce at that time. The layoffs apparently targeted women and older workers, and more than 80 percent of Dell’s upper management is now male, the lawsuit alleges.
Quoting Steven Wittels, a lawyer for the plaintiffs:
“While Dell publicly proclaims a commitment to diversity as ‘an essential element of our corporate values,’ the reality fails to live up to the rhetoric. At Dell, it is an understatement to say that women face a glass ceiling; Dell’s glass ceiling is made of concrete.”
The plaintiffs claim that they have each lost more than US$1 million in salary and other benefits due to Dell’s discrimination. The plaintiffs apparently have statistical data to back up their claims and will be providing it in court. Dell has remained unavailable for comment at this time. According to Dell’s diversity Web page, the company workforce consists of one-third women and 32 percent of the company’s U.S. vice presidents are women or minorities.
Quoting the Web page:
“Dell’s diversity programs give us access to the broadest pool of employees, which the company needs to meet the demands of its growing customer base. We recognize, of course, that this is always unfinished business. We actively recruit diverse talent and offer diverse employees tools to promote advancement.”
Dell has received numerous awards for its diversity programs over the years, perhaps making this allegation a true test of the computer makers’ efforts.