Avoiding Age Discrimination Claims When Conducting RIFs

May 7, 2009

The excellent employment law attorneys over at jacksen|lewis recently published an excellent article about taking preemptive measures to prevent possible age discrimination claims that are sure to come when employees who are over the age of 40 are let go as part of a Reduction in Force (“RIF”).  In my mind, the most important factor discussed in article is inquiring as to whether the RIF will have an adverse or disparate result on a protected class of employees (whether it is gender, race, religion, national origin, etc.).  As jacksen|lewis notes:

In a poor economy such as this, employers considering workforce restructuring should weigh the risks of incurring employee lawsuits, agency charges, and other potential liability.

We all know that when the economy slows, the number of EEO complaints increasing.  The chance of getting sued by a former an employee who cannot find a new job is much greater than having a former employee sue even though they were able to procure another (or even a better) job.  All employers should spend at least some time reviewing policies and ensuring compliance.  There is a myriad of resources available online for ensuring compliance.  If you are looking for something specific, I will be happy to help you find it.  Just remember that being in H.R. is hard enough; you don’t need to be doing things that can make the process even more difficult.