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Use blind process to decide who loses during RIF

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

No one likes a layoff, especially the affected employees—who may look for a reason to sue. Smart employers can stop many baseless lawsuits by using objective, neutral criteria to select which workers will lose their jobs. That’s what happened in the following case.

Recent case: Debra Jackson, who is black, sued after she was laid off during a RIF. She charged race discrimination.

But her employer could explain how it chose Jackson. First, it looked at how to make the necessary job cuts while maintaining good customer service. Then it picked which positions to eliminate without looking at the names of the employees holding those positions. Within those job categories, it proceeded to cut people strictly on the basis of tenure.

Jackson couldn’t point to anything to contradict her employer. She lost her case. (Jackson v. City and County of Denver, No. 06-CV-01430, DC CO, 2008)

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