• IBM wants layoff number kept secret
    STAFF REPORT | July 17,2013
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    MONTPELIER — IBM wants to keep confidential the number of employees recently laid off at its Essex Junction facility.

    IBM complied Monday with a state law requiring the company to provide the names and other details of employees who were laid off last month.

    However, according to the Department of Labor, “IBM asserts that all of the information provided, including the total number of affected employees, is highly sensitive and confidential commercial information.”

    IBM goes on to state that making public the information would cause competitive harm and damage individual employees.

    The company cites Vermont’s public records law that exempts trade secret and competitive business information.

    “While the department agrees that any information that could be used to identify individuals is exempt from disclosure, the department is not convinced that the total number of affected employees, as reflected in the notice, must be withheld from the public under Vermont law,” the department said in a news release Tuesday.

    The department noted that it had received media requests for the total number of layoffs at the Vermont facility.

    The state told IBM to provide “any legal justification or other information to support its claimed confidentiality” and to file that information by noon Thursday.

    IBM was once the state’s largest private employer but the company has fallen to second place behind Fletcher Allen Health Care, which has about 5,500 full-time employees.
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