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Making an Employment Decision?

Avoiding Discrimination in Layoffs or Reductions in Force (RIF)

Before implementing a layoff or reduction in force (RIF), review the process to determine if it will result in the disproportionate dismissal of older employees, employees with disabilities or any other group protected by federal employment discrimination laws.

  • List the employees who would be laid off or terminated based on your layoff/RIF criteria.
  • Determine whether certain groups of employees are affected more than other groups.
    • For example, to determine whether female employees may be affected more than male employees, compare the percentage of female employees scheduled for layoff/RIF to the percentage of female employees in your workforce.
  • If certain groups of employees are affected more than other groups, determine if you can adjust your layoff/RIF selection criteria to limit the impact on those groups, while still meeting your business's needs.
    • For example, you decide to lay off the most recently hired employees due to budget constraints. Female employees account for 30% of your workforce and 85% of the employees scheduled for layoff. Determine whether you can adjust your layoff criteria in a way that allows you to meet your financial goals while also reducing the impact on female employees. For example, you might determine whether alternative layoff criteria, such as employees' profitability, productivity or expertise, would enable you to reach the desired financial outcome and result in the layoff of fewer female employees.

This process can be complicated. You may want to consult a lawyer or contact the EEOC for assistance.

See also:

I need to lay off employees.

Manager Responsibilities - Waivers of Discrimination Complaints