• The HR Specialist - Print Newsletter
  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
  • The HR LAW Weekly
  • The HR Weekly


Small-group layoff? No need to keep employee just because she’s the oldest


If you are planning a layoff within a small group of employees, the fact that one of the employees about to lose her job is the oldest of the group won’t be the basis for a successful age discrimination claim. It takes more evidence that age was a motivating factor for the employee to win an age discrimination case. That’s because she can’t use statistics to prove the disparate impact on older workers in such a small group.

RIFs and age bias suits: Understand the power of statistics


If you’re like many employers, you offer severance pay when you have to implement a reduction in force. Never pay severance without getting something in return from the employee, namely a release and waiver of liability. There’s an important catch to understand when you ask for such a release from older workers.

They’re not too old to spend $6.2 million


Two scientists fired from the Valley Forge chemical company PQ Corp. are millionaires following a federal jury’s verdict in their age discrimination lawsuit. The two, a 60-year-old woman and a 56-year-old man, filed age bias charges against PQ after the company implemented a mass layoff in 2005. The scientists alleged that all of the employees laid off were over age 55.

Laying off employee who’s out on FMLA leave? Better be prepared to back up the rationale


If an employer has to downsize due to economic conditions, employees who are out on FMLA leave aren’t immune. They can be included in the reduction in force as long as their FMLA status isn’t used as a factor. But employers have to be careful—it will look suspicious if the only employee laid off happens to have been out on FMLA leave or just returned from it.

Another mortgage bailout, this time for Florida workers


The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced it will spend $1.6 million to help retrain 600 mortgage industry workers who lost their jobs at the Taylor, Bean, and Whitaker mortgage company in Northern and Central Florida. The money will provide training assistance to workers so they can qualify for jobs in the health care and IT.

RIF? Make sure layoff decision-makers don’t know workers’ FMLA status


Economic times remain tough, and businesses are still finding they have to cut costs to survive. And cutting costs often means looking at a possible reduction in force. In most organizations facing that difficult prospect, a team of managers has to decide where the cuts should be made and what criteria to use when making those cuts. Make sure the decision-making team doesn’t have access to information about FMLA usage …

Helping out when laying off: Supplemental unemployment plans


Layoffs are difficult for employees and employers alike. In these tough economic times, some employers are trying to help employees during layoffs and help prevent the permanent loss of good employees by implementing supplemental unemployment benefit plans.

How to guarantee a lawsuit: Terminate only older workers during reduction in force


Are you planning a reduction in force due to the poor economy? If so, double-check who is going to lose their jobs, paying particular attention to whether the burden falls predominantly on workers over age 40. If that is the case, make absolutely certain you have legitimate business reasons to back up your decision to fire them.

Daimler Truck workers get federal unemployment assistance


Laid-off Daimler Trucks North America workers at the company’s Gastonia plant are eligible for assistance under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act, which provides extended unemployment compensation benefits to workers who lose their jobs because of competition from imported products.

DEED: Half of employers shirking WARN Act obligations


Businesses that plan to lay off enough workers to trigger the federal WARN Act must give 60 days’ notice to employees and state officials. That’s supposed to allow state Rapid Response teams enough time to start helping find new jobs for soon-to-be displaced workers. But the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) says in many cases employer cooperation is grudging at best.