Your boss comes to you and tells you that they’re going to start downsizing. They warn you that they’re going to have to lay off about 30% of the workforce.
This is presented to you as something that is necessary. Maybe there’s been a local recession. Maybe the company is struggling. Your boss probably says that they have to trim the workforce to be able to keep profits coming in – so that at least some employees can keep their jobs.
But, if you do end up getting terminated during the downsizing, you may ask yourself if it was really necessary. Did it have to happen, or was it just an excuse to fire you and other workers.?
Considering what happens next
The important thing is to consider what happens next. If the company continues moving forward with lowering its number of employees, perhaps downsizing was necessary. If you were an at-will employee, this is not illegal.
But, if the company just hires a number of other workers to replace you and those who were fired with you, that can raise some red flags. This is especially true if you are in a protected class.
For instance, maybe your employer was downsizing by firing everyone who was over 40 years old, and then they replaced all those workers with younger workers who take lower salaries. This could be age discrimination. Depending on the group, you could also allege that there was sexual discrimination, racial discrimination, religious discrimination, or something of this nature. Look carefully to see if all of the workers who were “downsized” belong to the same group and if none of the replacements do.
If you do think your rights have been violated, then start looking into your legal options. You don’t have to sit idly by and let an employer get away with blatant discrimination disguised as some form of “corporate necessity.”