Courts hesitate to second-guess an employer’s decision to cut staff for economic reasons. Generally, employees have to challenge such decisions head on, with direct evidence of discrimination. That’s hard to do.
Recent case: Alain Ehrhardt worked as beverage director for a chain restaurant. He was terminated when it became clear the restaurant wasn’t making money. Managers told him it didn’t make sense to pay commissions and a salary to a beverage director under the circumstances when it was clear he wasn’t earning his keep.
Ehrhardt sued, alleging age discrimination. But the court tossed out his case, saying it didn’t want to second-guess business decisions when Ehrhardt didn’t offer any evidence that age was a factor in the firing. (Ehrhardt v. Haddad Restaurant Group, No. 11-10228, 11th Cir., 2011)