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5 Groups of employees that may be discriminated against: What to look for

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As we know from our previous blog post, some companies will use a reorganization or downsizing to discriminate against certain classes of employees.

Employers in California can fire employees for any reason, unless that reason is discriminatory in nature.

So what are some of signs that your employer may have used the reorganization as excuse to let you go? Here are five examples of commonly-discriminated against employees, and warning signs that something is wrong:

Older employees

Did your boss start asking you about retirement plans in the months prior to the lay-off? Was it common for younger workers to make disparaging comments about older staff? When you think about who got laid off, were the majority of them older while those who stayed behind, younger or even less qualified?

Minority employees

It is not OK for employers to target minorities, specific races or people of certain religions, ancestry or national origin. Ask yourself who got laid off and if there are any common themes. In addition, were the selection criteria used by the company for lay-offs equally applied to everyone?

LGBT employees

Prior to the lay-off you were open with your boss and co-workers about your sexual orientation. Maybe casual remarks or uncomfortable looks you ignored at the time, make you wonder now if there is an ulterior motive for the lay-off.

Whistle blowers

You filed a complaint with HR about a situation at work that violated the ethics rules in the months prior to the downsizing. While the management said they were working on a resolution, the proximity of the complaint and being downsized seems suspicious.

Pregnant employees

You just returned from leave after having a baby and the company handed you a pink slip. Maybe you asked for a modification in your work assignment for pregnancy-related health issues and according to the company they needed to lay-off employees due to a lack of business--you were one of the people given notice.

In all instances, look at the selection process which was used to determine who should eliminated. Was the employer's bias about pregnancy (or another protected class) obvious in who was chosen to be fired?

I feel like my company discriminated against me during a layoff. What do I do now?

If your employer claims the lay-off is due to the bad economy while purposefully targeting certain classes of people during reorganization, it doesn't make what they are doing OK. Before accepting a severance package you might want to consult an attorney who specializes in this area. Educate yourself about the process and don't assume taking the severance package and giving up your rights under the law is your only option.

Get more information by reading our white paper: Downsizing and Discrimination: An Illegal Combination.

For a free consultation with an attorney, please call Bononi Law Group, LLP, at 866-295-7512.

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