Minor deviation from layoff procedures? Courts unlikely to consider that discrimination

Of course you should always strive to follow your internal policies and procedures to the letter. That doesn’t mean you need to panic if you discover that someone unintentionally deviated from your standard practice.

Ensure early-out incentives are equitable

Often before an employer implements a reduction in force, it may try to encourage employees to resign or retire by offering early-out incentives.

Prepare to explain budget reason for job cuts

If an employee alleges she lost her job during a reduction in force because of discrimination or retaliation, counter that claim by showing there were real economic reasons for letting her go.

Base layoff decisions on previous job reviews

When deciding who stays and who goes during a reduction in force, use as many objective criteria as possible.

Get legal help when contesting unemployment

Employers have the right to contest a former employee’s eligibility for unemployment benefits. Talk it over with your attorney first.

Restructuring? Be sure to document reasons

HR pros can’t let sympathy for an employee who is out on extended medical leave—and whose job may be in jeopardy—affect the organization’s need to respond to business needs by restructuring.

What are the legal risks of layoffs?

Q. In recent months, a sharp decline in revenue has forced us to consider downsizing. What are the legal risks associated with a layoff, and how can we minimize them?

Beware fiscal trouble as justification for RIF

Clearly document any economic reasons for discharging older employees. Be especially careful if you are keeping younger workers who may earn more than the older employees.

Artful wording doesn't alter WARN Act intent


The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act decision based on a worker-friendly interpretation of the terms “sale of assets” and “going concern.” The decision makes it easier for workers to challenge lack of a WARN notice when their employer claims to have sold company assets to another firm.

More confusion as NYC amends displaced workers act

New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio has signed an amended version of the city’s Displaced Building Service Workers Protection Act into law, a move that may not mollify critics of the original law.

No WARN notice needed for separate oil rigs

Are separate oil rigs counted under one company bannner?

When RIF affects someone who complained, prepare to show your process was fair

If you ever have to consider cutting staff via a reduction in force, be sure to consider who among your employees might feel aggrieved enough to cause big legal trouble.

Keep an eye out for bosses who manipulate layoff list

Before you approve a reduction in force, make sure supervisors don’t use the layoffs as a way to get rid of employees they don’t like.

Beware basing layoff on inconsistent ratings

Here’s a reminder that it’s not always foolproof to base a reduction-in-force on rankings of employee performance.

School boards have wide latitude to terminate teachers for financial reasons

A Texas appellate court has upheld the discharge of a teacher for financial reasons. The case shows school districts have great discretion to determine which employees to cut and don’t have to be bogged down in a detailed examination.
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