By: Tiffanie Benfer, Esq.
The New York Times reports that 533,000 jobs were lost in November, the largest one-month decline since December 1974.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/06/business/economy/06jobs.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1228507331-YNAOQpjUJ8LVr45LIZgrIg
No doubt that this is a difficult time for both employers and employees. For employees facing layoffs, emotions are obviously running high. For employers, a reduction in force brings many possible pitfalls. An ounce of prevention in the form of careful planning and review of the decisions of managers may prevent many pounds of damage in the form of lawsuits and liability. Here are some suggestions for employers:
1. Take a careful look at the demographics of the people who will be laid off. Consider having someone independent of the managers who made the layoff decisions conduct this analysis. Make sure that employees in a protected class – older workers, women, or any particular racial group – are not being targeted disproportionately. Imagine that you will have to explain any disproportionate impact to a jury.