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Sen. Durbin calls Abbott Labs' IT layoffs 'harsh and insensitive’

Patrick Thibodeau | March 1, 2016
Employees are fearful as cuts loom and training of replacements begins.

Job ads are being posted inside the company to fill IT jobs, and each ad points out that an H-1B worker may be hired for the position. "It looks like most of the jobs will go to India," the IT employee said.

Many of the workers are over 40 years old, according to documents seen by Computerworld that describe their positions and ages.

About two years ago, application support was offshored to two other firms, IBM and Cognizant, and IT employees were cut after training replacements, this IT worker said.

The severance being offered includes six weeks of pay, plus a week of pay for each completed year of service.

As the Abbott layoff plans were unfolding last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee received sworn testimony about what was happening; Durbin's staff spoke with Abbott IT workers, who confirmed the cuts.

The severance agreement includes a non-disparagement clause that may make it difficult for employees to talk publicly about what happened. It also requires employees not to sue, including any legal action under the Federal Age Discrimination Employment Act.

Abbott Labs was asked for comment, but did not immediately respond.


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