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Is downsizing just age discrimination?

On Behalf of | Aug 17, 2022 | Employment Law |

There are certainly times when companies need to make layoffs and downsize. This often happens if there’s a reduction in sales. A company that is making $3 million a year may hire a bunch of new employees, see revenue drop to $2 million the next year, and have to let some of them go. This is a valid business practice and there’s sometimes no way to avoid it.

However, if this is happening at the company that you work for, you may want to watch out for potential discrimination. One way that this manifests is when employees feel like they’re only being laid off because of their age, not because any downsizing is necessary. Even if downsizing is necessary, the employees may still feel that their age was the only reason they were let go.

Look for a trend

One thing you can do in a situation like this is to consider any trends and how they can affect a certain group of people more than another.

For example, say that you are one of 10 employees who were laid off. About half of the employees at the business are over the age of 40, but 100% of the people who were fired are over that age. This could make you think that your employer specifically targeted older workers or even made up the excuse about layoffs in order to have a valid reason to let them go.

It can also be helpful to look for what happens after you get laid off from the company. If the company quickly replaces all of the workers who were just fired, that could serve as evidence that downsizing was never needed. This is especially problematic, of course, if all the employees who are hired to replace those who were “downsized” are younger than them.

Your age shouldn’t hold you back

Some companies will discriminate against older workers, and they may make excuses in order to do it and attempt not to violate the law. But your age should never hold your career back and you should never be fired because of it. If you believe that this has happened to you and it’s a wrongful termination, just make sure you know what legal steps you can take next.