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A Word About Layoffs

As an employment lawyer, I'm often asked whether a person who loses his or her job through a layoff or reduction-in-force, as opposed to a termination for cause, has any recourse in the law.  The short answer is:  possibly.  An employer does not shield itself from liability simply by calling a termination a "layoff," "reduction-in-force," "down-sizing," "right-sizing" or some other trendy euphemism.   The issue is almost always: Was there an unlawful motive in the termination decision.  In other words, even if there is a legitimate need to reduce headcount, if, for example, certain individuals are included in the layoff because of their age, race, national origin, gender, or some other unlawful factor, the decision as to those individuals may be unlawful.  It is not unheard-of for companies to use a legitimate layoff as an opportunity to unlawfully disgorge from their payroll employees who are on workers' compensation leave, disabled, pregnant or who have made discrimination complaints against the company.  If you believe you have been the victim of an unlawful employment action you should contact an attorney immediately, as the deadlines for initiating action in such cases can be short and the failure to act timely will result in your claim being barred. GSF

  • AV | Preeminent | Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence | 2017
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  • Expertise | Best Employment Lawyers in Houston | 2017
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