Update, 2/17/2021 11:15am PT: Intel responded to our request for comment; we've included it below.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found that Intel discriminated against older workers, The Oregonian reported today, in 2015. Yet the commission has reportedly decided not to formally sue Intel over the issue.
The Oregonian reported that accusations of age discrimination were lobbied against Intel following layoffs in 2015 that affected more than 1,100 of its employees. The EEOC reportedly found evidence of such discrimination against eight workers.
According to the EEOC website, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act “forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older,” and states can extend further age-related protections to younger people if they choose to do so.
Intel appears to have violated the ADEA during the 2015 layoffs. The EEOC hasn’t sued the company, however, and The Oregonian reported that the commission is instead “working with Intel to resolve the issues on behalf of the laid-off workers.”
Intel responded to our request for comment with the following statement:
"Personnel decisions in our 2015 and 2016 actions were based solely upon business needs. Factors such as age, race, national origin, gender, immigration status, or other personal demographics were not part of the process when we made these decisions. The EEOC has concluded its investigation into our 2015 action and offered to work with Intel to address its concerns."
It’s not clear how exactly the EEOC is working with Intel, why it decided not to sue the company, or why it took more than five years to find evidence of age discrimination. How much longer would it take to investigate other, larger mass layoffs?
That isn’t an idle question. Intel laid off 11,000 workers in 2016, and even though layoffs have slowed in the years since, they’re still a regular occurrence. Hundreds of people at the company were given pink slips throughout 2019 and 2020.
Former EEOC commissioner Victoria Lipnic said in 2018 that “older workers who lose a job have much more difficulty finding a new job than younger workers” and that their “new job may not have been on a par with the one [they] had before.”