Recent layoffs at Dell unfairly targeted women and workers over age 40, and the company discriminates against women in pay and promotions, according to a new lawsuit filed by four former human-resources managers at the computer maker.
The four former HR executives at Dell are seeking US$500 million in a class-action lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The four women alleged that the company and its “old boy network” discriminated against women in pay, job placement, promotions and layoffs.
Dell in May 2007 announced plans to lay off about 8,800 workers, about 10 per cent of its workforce. Those layoffs unfairly targeted women and older workers, and more than 80 per cent of Dell’s upper management is now male, the lawsuit alleges.
“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,” Steven Wittels, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a statement. “At Dell, it is an understatement to say that women face a glass ceiling; Dell’s glass ceiling is made of concrete.”
Each of the four plaintiffs allege that they have lost more than $1 million in salary and other benefits due to Dell’s discrimination. The plaintiffs will produce statistical evidence in the case, said Wittels, of the Sanford Wittels and Heisler law firm.
A Dell spokeswoman said the company hasn’t seen the lawsuit and typically does not comment on pending litigation.
“We take any claim against our diversity efforts seriously,” said Colleen Ryan, a Dell spokeswoman. “We don’t tolerate discrimination in any aspect of employment.”