Workforce Reductions and Statistics: A Primer and Recommendations

Workforce reductions, whether in the form of hours reductions, furloughs, or layoffs, are often a last resort for employers experiencing financial pressures. Nevertheless, when these actions are necessary, time typically is of the essence, because when shedding payroll is the objective, the more drawn out the process, the smaller will be any financial savings. But quick decisions need not be careless decisions. The key is to thoroughly understand the risks before making decisions that later may result in potential liability. If these risks are too great, employers may seek to mitigate these risks by considering a voluntary exit incentive program, in which employees may be offered severance and/or other benefits in exchange for releasing claims they otherwise may assert.

In our experience, employers are more vigilant regarding the duties and risks posed by laws that deal directly with job losses, such as WARN and the OWBPA, than with how discrimination laws, and particularly statistical proof under those laws, present litigation risks. The purpose of this white paper is to provide readers an overview of how statistical analysis intersects with these discrimination laws, so they may better assess the risks posed by their RIF decisions and proactively manage their exposure.

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Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.