Courts understand reductions in force and recognize that companies sometimes have to make tough decisions.
When an employer can show it had good reasons for cutting employees through a RIF, affected employees will have to come up with solid discrimination evidence early in the litigation game. And that’s a burden they often can’t meet.
Recent case: Robert Johnson was 64 years old when his position was eliminated in a RIF. He sued, alleging age discrimination.
But his former employer showed the court that it had a big budget gap to fill and therefore had to eliminate several positions, one of which was Johnson’s.
The court said that when a legitimate RIF occurs, an employee has to provide “direct, circumstantial or statistical evidence” showing the employer singled him out for selection because of his age. He couldn’t. (Johnson v. Franklin Farmers Cooperative, No. 09-5483, 6th Cir., 2010)