There are times when there is a valid business reason for a company to
reduce its staff and when that occurs, it is a proper basis for discharging
employees and unfortunately, on occasion, a great number of employees.
This is called a Reduction in Force (RIF).
Although the concept of a RIF is proper, there are times when an employer
may illegitimately include within layoffs certain employees for reasons
that are not legitimate or appropriate, but rather as a means for discriminating
against certain protected employees, thereby using the veil of a RIF to
camouflage prohibited discriminatory terminations.
By way of example, we have sometimes found that long-standing employees
of protected status, such as older employees or minority employees or
female employees, are improperly incorporated as part of the group that
is designated for termination for legitimate reasons in the reduction.
All too frequently, we are contacted by employees who are improperly included
in a legitimately terminated group in a reduction. It is for this reason
that it becomes important to carefully consider those who are included
within the reduction. Therefore, it is essential that we investigate and
review RIF terminations to make certain that the employees were properly
included within the RIF, and were not instead terminated because of their
their color, their
national origin, their
disability, or because of their
There are also situations in which the RIF may have a disproportionate
effect on a protected class and unfairly impact protected employees as
a group. Whether or not the employer intended such a result is usually
irrelevant. If, for example, the composition of the employer’s workforce
reduction creates an objectively strong inference that the RIF was inflicted
upon the workforce as a means of discriminating against certain protected
individuals based on a pretext that it was a legitimate reduction in force.
New York Employment Lawyers Offer Our Support
If you were laid off or will be laid off because of a RIF or site closing,
and you have a reasonable basis for questioning the legitimacy of your
employer’s selection of employees for termination, you may wish
to seek counsel from an attorney. We will be pleased to meet with you
to discuss your concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact us for a
free initial interview, at which time we will be able to determine whether we believe we can
help you and you will have the opportunity to decide whether you wish
to invite us to do so.