When a 64-year-old worker sued for age bias, his employer pulled out documentation showing a big budget gap that required the elimination of several positions. The court said that when a legitimate RIF occurs, an employee has to provide “direct, circumstantial or statistical evidence” showing age bias. He couldn’t. (Johnson v. Franklin Farmers Cooperative, 6th Cir.)
The lesson: Courts understand RIFs are sometimes necessary evils. When you can show you had good reasons, affected employees will have to come up with solid evidence early in the litigation game. And that’s a burden they often can’t meet.