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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

100 Former Lawrence Livermore Lab Employees File Complaints Alleging Illegal Age Discrimination

Anonymous said...


Tuesday February 3, 1:46 pm ET

PRESS CONFERENCE: February 4, 2009

The Story

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Watch LLNS/LLNL try to hide behind DOE/NNSA... "We were just doing as required by DOE in our contract" or "They approved of our layoff plans, and that's all that matters, not State employment laws."

Anonymous said...

How sad. I am sure these folks truly believe they were discriminated against. I think their chances are nearly zero of prevailing. Proving age discrimination (which I don't think happened here) is going to be very difficult and expensive.

Anonymous said...

If there was no merit for a case the DFEH would have just denied the complaints. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance is probably also involved.

Anonymous said...

I am not a LLNS supporter--LLNS is a disaster for the Lab. However, this layoff was long overdue. The only reason that most of these employees were older is that they couldn't be fired 10 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Feb 4: I have seen the DFEH investigate allegations that clearly had no merit. On the other hand, the lawyers representing these folks will do anything for a dollar.

Anonymous said...

Not only were they discriminated against, come on folks, didn't we all sign a one year offer of employment?? Didn't the high and might GM stand before us in a public forum and GUARANTEE us 'there will be NO layoffs the first year'???

Anonymous said...

I think it will be a slam dunk - historically, 10% of those laid off based on seniority are over the age of 40. In this case, 94% were over 40. Once all the smoke and mirrors are discounted by the court regarding "business units" and "layoff units" it should be a no-brainer.

Anonymous said...

I am one of the former career employees that was kicked out the gate in May. I had more than 25 years of excellent service to LLNL. Although I am a older person, I consider myself to be in my prime. I had no intention of retiring anytime soon as I enjoyed my job and the people I worked with.

I beleive that LLNS management discriminated against me and many other older workers when they told us to pack up and get out now. One worker had 38 years of service and was laid off. In many work groups, the younger workers with less seniority got to keep their jobs.

There is a law against age discrimination in the workplace. The law firm representing us will be successful.

Anonymous said...

"I think it will be a slam dunk - historically, 10% of those laid off based on seniority are over the age of 40. In this case, 94% were over 40."

Just a point to ponder: Average age at the laboratory, like several other labs and DOE sites is 50 or more. Could skew the % over 40 approach.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know more about those employees who feel they were discriminated against. Before you were laid off, were you highly ranked? Were you ever EBA? What did they end up doing with your position, were they able to get along without you? Tough questions to answer, but it would shed some light as to whether or not you really have a case.

Anonymous said...

I thought I remember hearing that over 100 of the 150 scientists laid off were over the age of 50 with 20+ years of service. That would put 2/3rds of the RIFed into this senior classification. If so, then it would seem like a clear cut case of age discrimination.

Anonymous said...

Not necessarily. Age does not equal your value to the lab. It would have to be on a case-by-case basis. It makes no sense to make a general statement that this is a slam dunk case or that it's clear cut without knowing the circumstance of each individual.

Anonymous said...

Lets hope the other 1,900 people get wind of this and join in very soon before the case is closed. Each person needs to sue for no less than $1M after taxes. That's about what they've lost by being kicked to the street and it's what they'll need in their 401k to make up the difference. I wish them luck and happy hunting.

Anonymous said...

The lawyers are only in this for greed, they could care less about the people.

The system was not perfect. Due to some incomepetent senior managers, who should have been ISP'd themselves, a few mistakes were made. However, if you lived on the EBA list, were an assistant to someone else, or hadn't received a raise for a while, getting rid of you was good for the Lab.

Anonymous said...

This is not a class action suit. Wonder why? The lawyers know that some of the people on their list deserved to be laid of. When the details are worked, many of them will be thrown out by the lawyers themselves.

Anonymous said...

This needs to be looked at carefully. Many older workers had skills that involved real work (e.g. pulse power skills for the fusion program, machinists, etc...). Those appear to be no longer needed for the lab of the future, hence the basis that they were RIFed: no longer needed for the evolving bureaucratic laboratory.

Anonymous said...

The 1967 age discrimination act ( ADEA ) gives some protection to employees 40 years old and older. This law states " age can not be a factor in making decisions about workers. This includes decisions about hiring, pay, promotion, or layoffs ".

Anonymous said...

The perception seems to be that these workers were incompetent, lazy, and should have been gone long ago.Frankly the opposite is true.These are individuals you went to if something needed to be done yesterday and delivered today. They also have employment records to back up that assertion.

Anonymous said...

It's undeniable more profitable to lay off the older workers who are in their final years of seeing a big pension payoff.

While the TCP1 pension does not come out of the LLNL operating budget or the for-profit earnings, it is a financial concern which LLNS must carefully monitor. Therefore, by kicking out the workers in their late 40's to mid 50's, LLNS reduced any future funding risks that TCP1 might encounter. It adds an extra margin of safety.

In the case of workers too young to start pulling their pension, it also allows LLNS to not have to pay retirement medical, which is a cost that comes from the annual operating budget. If you don't elect to start receiving your pension payments within 120 days of leaving LLNL, you don't get medical retirement. Only workers in their late 50's to early 60's would probably want to start taking the retirement checks. Thus, targeting workers in their late 40's to mid 50's benefits the LLNL budget.

Companies all over America play this game with older workers. It's not right, but it is very common.

Anonymous said...

I was not one of the managers involved in actually selecting who was ISP'd and who was not, but I became intimately familar with those details and particiapted in many such discussions. Being over 60 with 20 plus years of service, it would have been a nice golden handshake to have been on the ISP list. In all of this, I never heard or perceived of any attempt to get rid of us older workers because of our age. In fact, I could not even get on the list even though I indicated that I wanted to be on it and made it clear I would not consider any kind of action against the Lab for selecting me.

Anonymous said...

"...However, if you lived on the EBA list, were an assistant to someone else, or hadn't received a raise for a while, getting rid of you was good for the Lab..."

You seem to know little about any of the people that were let go or what skilled contributers to the LLNL workforce these individuals were. I'll assume you've been sheltered in management or NIF.

I can name 8 individuals that did not fit within your narrow minded description of why people were let go. The funny part is several of them were hired back and one refused to come back. Sounds like UM did not have a clue to the daily needs of the programs.

Anonymous said...

Why do we not hear about the SPES, the "union" involvement in this?

Anonymous said...

The population of the US is about 12% Black, but the NFL is about 60% Black. Seems clear that the NFL is prejudiced against Whites, correct?

Anonymous said...

"I can name 8 inidividuals ..."

As someone earlier has said, there were a few mistakes. In addition to the EBAs etc., there were also some who possessed skills that were in excess of the Lab's needs. If you were a 200 in this category, it supposedly was decided by who was better. In the other classifications, it was nothing but seniority. If some were hired back, my guess is that management misjudged what was needed. Usually this was the hourly work force.

Anonymous said...

I think allowing them to protect low senority individuals and then let go people in the same classification with more senority was discrimination. Also, whole groups of people were let go, and now are backfilled with people that have no experience doing the job. Let's face it, LLNS and Rechtel did what ever they wanted and the DOE will pay for the legal defense.

Anonymous said...

Statement from anonymous:
"The perception seems to be that these workers were incompetent, lazy, and should have been gone long ago.Frankly the opposite is true.These are individuals you went to if something needed to be done yesterday and delivered today. They also have employment records to back up that assertion."

ISP'd response:
Thank you!!!!

Another anonymous statement:
"I'd like to know more about those employees who feel they were discriminated against. Before you were laid off, were you highly ranked? Were you ever EBA? What did they end up doing with your position, were they able to get along without you? Tough questions to answer, but it would shed some light as to whether or not you really have a case."

This ISP's repsonse:
Hear more? Okay...try being moved up quickly in the ranking process for the past 7 years. Stellar PA's! Have them in hand in fact :-)
Moved up through HARD work, good ethics not by being a 'yes' person, quite the opposite-challenged many of the 'old ways'(and received numerous awards) for implementing newer/cost effective measures in how we were doing business as our group was greatly understaffed for at LEAST 5 of the years I was an integral part of the 'team'!! Nope...Never been EBA'd and as to getting along w/o me?? 2 people are currently 'trying' to 'keep up' and basically have given up even trying to do 1/2 the workload I previously performed!!

FACT:....much of the 'deadwood' still remains within LLNS as the 'key' performers for many groups were laid off!!

Anonymous said...

I know in one instance a competent and productive 285 in Comp that was let go. He was the specialist in his area and highly valued by his GL. What got him out the door was that he was a squeaky wheel. He did not get along with his DL and that got him sunk.

Anonymous said...

Favoritism and fraud also played a part in the layoffs. I know middle managers who "taxed" project accounts to make sure they were covered, leaving little money left for those actually working on the project.

Anonymous said...

To Anony 10:32, I believe you are in the minority of those who were let go; yes there will be stories of model employees who didn't deserve the boot. But for every one person most of us know who should have stayed, we know two who should have left years ago. For some it may indeed be a case of age discrimination, but for most it is not.

Anonymous said...

In my work group, a few workers were brought in from other areas shortly before the layoff. It sure appears that management wanted to protect these workers. They are good employees but had less seniority, less experience and were much younger than the excellent older workers ( all over the age of 50 ) that were told to pack their stuff, get out now and never come back. In my opinion, this is a very clear example of age discrimination. Older workers are in a protected class - protected by a federal law. Seniority rules were not followed in some non-200 series work groups and that is against lab policy.

Management has made several mistakes since they took over in Oct. 2007. They made many mistakes in the layoff of older career employees in May and the law firm representing the older workers that were kicked offsite will prove there was age discrimination in the May layoff.

Anonymous said...

In my 25 years at the Lab, I have never seen a substandard employee who didn't blame someone else for his/her low salary, ranking, etc. I know a few people who were wacked in the ISP in error, but most of those I knew deserved it and would have been gone long ago in a normal company. Never did I sense age discrimation.

Anonymous said...

Millions of people have been laid off in the past year. LLNL laid off a few hundred FTEs involuntarily. Do you wonder why your Congressman didn't get excited over the Lab's actions. Quit crying.

Anonymous said...

I have seen the DFEH investigate complaints and deny them based on one afternoon of interviews with those named in the discrimination complaint. Most people fail to realize that their situation is due to their own making.

Anonymous said...

I have talked with several former employees that had 25 or more years of dedicated service that got escorted out the gate in May. The day of their layoff, they were treated like criminals. They were treated like they had done something very wrong. One thing they had in common was that they were all over the age of 50.

I know a few older former employees that had between 33 and 38 years of faithful service that were told to pack up and get out now. Management then handed their workload over to flex term employees that were younger and less experienced.

I am not an attorney but I have read many articles on age discrimination. I have also read the federal 1967 law that protects older workers. It appears that in some work groups there was age discrimination in the May layoff.

Anonymous said...

Got a call from one of these people today and he explained what happened. I hope he get $1M clean after taxes. LLNS has ruined this guys life. sad, sad, sad. I also know of one lady who got screwed big time in the ISP. I wish her the same. She was outstanding in her field of expertise and trained by one of LLNL's best Chemist who is no with us. How stupid can LLNS be.

Anonymous said...

Neko, Can you fix the spelling errors and poor grammar in some of these posts?

Anonymous said...

Spelling and grammar errors? Wonder why these people got wacked?

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