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Slow business forces RIF? Most staffing decisions won’t trigger bias liability

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

In tough economic times, it’s always hard to balance employee skills with the available work. If you need to conduct a reduction in force because of slow business, it’s perfectly legal to move employees around to better meet your new needs even as you lay off others.

That’s true even if the transferred employees take over all or most of the job duties the terminated employees performed.

During a RIF, you are merely realigning your workforce to your available work.

Few judges will second-guess those moves, even if the main im­pact is on one employee who happens to be a member of a protected class.

Recent case: Willie was the only black electrician working for Regent Electric. He had been hired for a specific project. When Regent’s work declined dramatically, it moved electricians around to various projects, including Willie’s. The transferred electricians had more seniority, so the company terminated Willie. A week later, it ...(register to read more)

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