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6. I need to lay off employees.


Ensuring that  managers involved in layoff decisions understand their responsibilities may help prevent discrimination.

  • Ensure that layoffs or reductions in force (RIFs) are based on nondiscriminatory reasons, such as quality or quantity of work, rather than on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), national origin, disability, age (40 or older) or genetic information.
    • For example, a Muslim employee who takes breaks during his shift to pray may not be selected for layoff based on a belief that his prayer breaks reflect a lack of commitment to his job.
  • Ensure that employees are not selected for layoff or RIF because they reported discrimination, participated in a discrimination investigation or lawsuit, or opposed discrimination (for example, threatened to file a discrimination charge or complaint).
  • Before implementing the layoff or RIF, review the selection criteria to determine if they will result in the disproportionate dismissal of older employees, employees with disabilities or any other group protected by federal employment discrimination laws.
    • Revise the layoff/RIF criteria, if needed and if possible, to limit the impact on these groups while still achieving your business's goals.
  • Ensure that managers involved in applying layoff/RIF selection criteria understand the criteria and apply it accurately and consistently.
  • If you ask employees who are laid off or RIFed to formally agree not to file a discrimination complaint against your business, make sure you understand your responsibilities.

See also:

Avoiding Discrimination in Layoffs or Reductions in Force (RIF)

Manager Responsibilities - Waivers of Discrimination Complaints