Dr. Norman Matloff


Qualcomm Lobbies for Increased H-1B Quotas and Gets Sues for Age Discrimination



As many of you know, Qualcomm has been one of the most vociferous lobbyists for increased H-1B quotas. Also, relevant to this age discrimination suit against them, recall the case of Bard-Alan Finlan (see my "Debunking the Myth of a Desperate Software Labor Shortage" paper), who applied multiple times to Qualcomm for jobs but never even got an interview. He had a computer engineering degree from UC San Diego, one of the top programs in the nation, but happened to be age 43 instead of 23.

Norman Matloff

Suit claims age bias by Qualcomm

By Mike Drummond STAFF WRITER

February 4, 2000

Several former Qualcomm employees laid off last year are suing the company for alleged age discrimination. Their lawsuit seeks as much as $1 billion, plus punitive damages.

The suit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims Qualcomm fired workers older than 40 "to facilitate the company's desired youthful mind-set and employee makeup."

Qualcomm spokeswoman Christine Trimble said the company had yet to see the complaint, "but we believe the lawsuit is without merit and we will vigorously defend the action."

"We find it disappointing that employees that accepted our generous severance package a year ago have decided to file this suit and seek more from the company," she added.

The four men who brought the lawsuit were among 700 mostly full-time employees laid off in February 1999. A month later, Qualcomm announced it was selling its then-ailing network equipment business to Swedish rival Ericsson.

Plaintiff Thomas Durante of San Diego declined to comment, and referred questions to local attorney Charles Bleiler. Others named in the suit are Curtis Parker of San Diego, James Curley of Hemet and Joseph Edwards of Valley Center.

Bleiler said yesterday that 13 former employees are part of the lawsuit and that they are seeking class-action status. He declined to comment further on this latest case or why he filed the action in Los Angeles.

The attorney has been involved in several local high-profile cases. Last year, Bleiler prevailed in an Americans With Disabilities Act case against the county. In the late 1980s, he spearheaded a lawsuit against SeaWorld after a trainer was injured while performing with a killer whale.

Qualcomm has had trouble putting the infrastructure division in its rearview mirror.

The company is facing a class-action suit by workers who were transferred to Ericsson last year. They claim Qualcomm failed to inform them that the company was looking to sell the infrastructure division at the time they were hired and are demanding their unvested stock options.

Ericsson itself is unhappy with the sale, and late last year announced it was disputing the purchase price. Both companies are trying to settle the matter.