Older Silicon Valley techies pushed out onto the ice floes to die? Almost 100 lawsuits say yes.

It’s a myth that the Inuit of the Arctic routinely push their old people out on the ice to die.

But at major tech firms here in Silicon Valley, the practice is alive and well.

At least that’s one interpretation of the strikingly high number of age-discrimination lawsuits filed against these companies.

Ninety age-discrimination suits have been filed against a dozen leading Silicon Valley companies since 2012, USA Today reported on Nov. 22.

Hewlett-Packard has been the target of 28 age-discrimination suits since May 2013, while Cisco has been sued over that claim 11 times, Apple nine times, Google eight times, and Oracle and Genentech seven times each. Yahoo, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tesla, Twitter and Intel have also been sued for age discrimination, USA Today said.

Most of the tech-company lawsuits claimed wrongful termination, with a few citing issues over hiring or promotion, according to the newspaper.

One of the suits against HP claimed the company had turfed older workers to “make the company younger.” In a Mercury News article on that suit, UC Davis professor Norman Matloff called age-related bias in Silicon Valley “standard practice.”

HP Inc. didn’t respond to a request for comment on that story, but spinoff firm HP Enterprise said it had “a long-standing commitment to the principles of equal employment opportunity and age inclusion is no exception.”

USA Today said its information on the lawsuits came from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

“Legal experts and employees say a confluence of factors have deepened the problem: an aging workforce of people who want to, and have to, work longer; a spike in mergers and restructurings that have led companies to shed tens of thousands of workers; and evolving skill sets that have marginalized some workers and put a premium on others,” the USA Today article said.

Court filings from an age-discrimination lawsuit against Google revealed  in July that the firm is under federal investigation over age-bias claims. Google submitted a filing in that case that said “its actions were motivated by reasonable factors other than age.”


Photo: The Hewlett-Packard sign in front of the company’s Palo Alto campus. (Bay Area News Group archives)


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