Former Dell Execs File Gender and Age Discrimination Suit

October 30, 2008 ( - Four female former Human Resources executives of Dell, Inc. on Thursday filed a class action discrimination suit against the company in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California.

The former executives accuse the computer manufacturer of systemic discrimination in blocking women across the company from breaking into the top ranks, according to a press release from law firm Sanford Wittels & Heisler LLP. Dell’s upper-management ranks have swelled to approximately 80% male, the law firm claims.

According to the press release, in an email to Bethany Riches, a former senior HR Manager and plaintiff in this case, her VP supervisor told her not “to assume it’s about you” if she had problems “breaking into arguably one of the toughest old boy networks in Dell.”

The suit also alleges that Dell’s exclusively male fourteen-member Executive Leadership Team recently engineered mass layoffs of more than 8,000 employees which singled out women and older employees.

The plaintiffs seek to change Dell’s allegedly discriminatory policies regarding pay, job placement, promotion, and termination. The lawsuit demands $500 million in damages for a class of thousands of current and former Dell female managers and executives, and older employees disproportionately affected by the company’s mass layoffs in 2007 and 2008.

The women claim that as a result of Dell’s discriminatory treatment, each lost more than a million dollars in projected salary increases, promotion grants, and short and long-term incentive awards.