California Executive: Effective Reductions in Force Require Delicate Handling

News / July 29, 2008

Los Angeles partner Margaret Rosenthal was quoted in a July 29 California Executive magazine article, "Effective Reductions in Force Require Delicate Handling."

According to the article, as the country's economic woes continue, U.S. businesses are being forced to reduce their workforces, which can often set the stage for discrimination and retaliation lawsuits.

Human resources experts recommend that employers should be clear about the business reasons for layoffs, use objective criteria in a consistent manner, document all decisions, treat outgoing employees with dignity, pay attention to the morale of existing staff and have a plan in place before handing out a termination notice.

According to Rosenthal, who focuses her practice in employment law and litigation, it is a mistake to keep people simply because they are well liked, or to tie layoff decisions to individual considerations. It all comes back to basing decisions on your force reduction objective, which usually means you'll want to keep your income-generating employees. So you want to look at things like experience and written evaluations, but always base the decision on clear objectives, Rosenthal said.