Landscapes Plus

Landscapes Plus
To: Joseph Smith, Owner
From: Jane Doe
CC: Newco Venture Capital Committee
Date: 5/29/2011
Re: Reduction in Force Guidelines
In the unfortunate event requiring the need to lay off employees at Landscapes Plus, consideration of the many different factors that could lead to costly litigation based on a discrimination theory must be employed. Organizations participating in a reduction in force (RIF) are typically reacting to an economic reason. Although the situation is a good opportunity to weed out unproductive, inefficient, or negative employees, distinguishing between legal discrimination and illegal discrimination is imperative.
Length of Service
Senior employees who have long-term experience tend to be paid higher salaries, so the financial benefits of terminating these employees seem high. In contrast, senior employees usually have a well-rounded knowledge of the day to day activities of the company, so are usually considered to be the company’s biggest assets. Although considering the length of service in respect to a RIF is recommended, it should not be the only factor used in the decision making process. Furthermore, terminating employees based solely on age is illegal.

Any RIF is subject to potential lawsuits and the amount of potential damages can escalate dramatically. Therefore, RIF decisions must be consistent, uniformly applied, and based on objective measures. If management decides to terminate experienced, senior employees, offering severance can further help reduce litigation. Another simple test to address age bias is to calculate the average age of the workforce before and after the layoff (Light, 2007). If there is a dramatically lower age average after the proposed layoff, then management may need to reconsider their decisions, as the liability of discrimination will likely increase.

Protected Class Designations
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination based on...