In the last few months, I’ve had some inquiries from employers asking about resources for layoffs.
Everyone remembers the layoffs of the recession, right?
Actually no, as it turns out.
In the ten years since the last great round of layoffs, there is a big group of new managers, directors, human resource personnel, lawyers etc that have joined the workforce. And, as it turns out, they really DON’T remember the layoffs. Unemployment is low. “Why would I need to worry about a Reduction in Force?”
The stock market’s drop yesterday should remind all of us that good times aren’t always going to last.
What’s ironic about this is that back in 2008 — when the unemployment rate was skyrocketing — programs about reductions in force were just taking off and I noted the same concerns about whether employers were sufficiently aware of the issues.
History may repeat itself. Back then, I highlighted a few items that employers had to think about:
- The WARN Act – If you’re doing a mass layoff, you need to notice affected workers in advance and provide notices to local and state officials.
- Separation Agreements – If you want employees to sign a separation agreement (and you probably should), you need to give employees who are terminated in a layoff 45 days to consider an agreement and provide additional background information about the layoff itself.
- Disparate Impact Analysis – With computers, checking your layoff data to ensure that it doesn’t have a disproportionate impact on protected groups (or, if it does, a legitimate business reason why it might) remains important.
Much of this remains valuable advice today. And for employers who don’t remember this, now would be a good time to start your refresher courses.
Layoffs may not be right around the corner. But employers that are looking ahead in their business plans for 2019, would be wise to ensure that their staff are aware of the obligations that attach if the economy turns cold.