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Downsizing and discrimination sometimes go together

On Behalf of | Aug 26, 2022 | Employment Law

male person of color being fired from job

When a single employee is fired, they may believe that they’re being discriminated against. Perhaps they had better production numbers than other employees, but they still lost their job and they think it’s because of their race, their age, their religion or another protected class.

However, in a situation where a company has to lay off numerous employees, they may just say that it is downsizing. This can help to disguise the fact that discrimination is still taking place. Employees need to be wary that businesses may still discriminate as they downsize, and they need to know what signs to look for.

Starting with protected classes

The place to begin is by considering different protected classes. You can then determine if the workers who were laid off during the downsizing are overwhelmingly in one of those classes.

For instance, perhaps a business needs to lay off 20% of its workforce. The racial split at the company is about 70/30, favoring Caucasian workers but still seeing some representation by minority workers. If the company does cut 20% of the workers and the majority of them come from that already-smaller group of minority workers, it could show that the company is discriminating against those workers when deciding who to let go.

It may be important to consider the qualifications that the business has laid out determining what criteria they want to use when reducing the workforce. This is certainly not going to say that they are considering race, age or other factors. But this may make it clear that some of the workers who were let go don’t actually meet the criteria and were only let go because they were in a protected class – and they are facing discrimination.

It’s frustrating and discouraging to find yourself in a position like this, but be assured that you do have rights as an employee. Make sure you know what steps to take.