Former Dell Execs Claim Sex Discrimination

Four female former HR executives file suit against Dell.

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Four female former human resources executives have filed suit against Dell for gender and age discrimination. The lawsuit claims Dell has targeted women and older workers for layoffs, and the plaintiffs are seeking class-action status, opening the door for other claimants.

Some details from Reuters:

"We believe the claims of this suit are without merit," Dell spokesman David Frink told Reuters.

"Dell does not tolerate discrimination in any aspect of employment and we'll vigorously defend any claims that we are not acting in accordance with the law or our policies," he said, declining to give additional details.

The lawsuit demands $500 million in damages on behalf of female and older former Dell employees, who they say were singled out during recent layoffs and systematically discriminated against.

"At Dell, it is an understatement to say that women face a glass ceiling — Dell's glass ceiling is made of concrete," said Steven L. Wittels, class counsel in the case and founding partner of Sanford Wittels & Heisler LLP.

Nearly 80 percent of the top executives in Dell are male, the lawsuit said. Dell declined to comment on that figure, although its website says women and people of color represent 32 percent of its U.S.-based vice presidents.

The plaintiffs were repeatedly passed up for promotions and increased pay despite receiving good performance reviews, the suit said.

The Wall Street Journal reports that it's the most recent in a spate of gender discrimination suits from white-collar female workers: "Over the last few years, companies including Citigroup Inc.'s Smith Barney unit, Morgan Stanley, and EMC Corp. have been hit with such cases."


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