Justification for Employee Lay Off

If a person is laid off with the explanation being RIF, and there are two people with the same job title and only one is laid off, is justification needed on why one person was laid off and not the other? If both have excellent work records and the only difference being that one was employed for 16 years and the other for 14 years and also the fact that one is older by 13 years. Is not justification needed on why the younger employee with 16 years service was laid off? Is this some form of reverse discrimination?

1 answer  |  asked Dec 18, 2001 3:51 PM [EST]  |  applies to Illinois

Answers (1)

Aaron Maduff
Justification for Employee Lay off -- Reverse Discrimination

Reductions in force create a difficult problem for employers. Certainly, an employer who lays off a minority, or other person where it might appear that the lay off was motivated by that person's membership in some protected class (i.e. black/white, male/female) faces the possibility that a discrimination claim will be made against it.
In this case, it sounds as though you may be concerned that the employer is attempting to avoid the appearance of age discrimination. But when it comes to age discrimination, one is only a member of the protected class if he or she is over the age of 40.
If you have reason to believe that the employer has an evil intent, then you should consult an attorney. But sometimes an employer is just stuck with a difficult decision. As Freud would say, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
While that certainly doesn't serve much concillation, if the real reason is a RIF, then maintaining a good relationship with the employer may help in getting new employment. A letter that says that you were a good employee whom the employer did not want to let go, but had no other choice in the face of economic concerns may well help to get another job.
If such a letter is not easily forthcoming, an attorney may well be able to help you negotiate it as part of a severance package. And usually severance packages are negotiable.

posted by Aaron Maduff  |  Dec 18, 2001 10:03 PM [EST]

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