Employee reductions and terminations have been an unfortunate result of the current economic downturn. Even in good economic times, however, businesses of every size carefully assess their operational structures and may sometimes decide to reduce their workforce. Often, employers terminate older employees who are eligible for retirement, or nearly so, because they generally have been with the company the longest and are paid the highest salaries. Other employers evaluate individual employees on criteria such as performance or experience, or decide to lay off all employees in a particular position, division, or department. An employer’s decision to terminate or lay off certain employees, while retaining others, may lead discharged workers to believe that they were discriminated against based on their age, race, sex, national origin, religion, or disability.
Understanding Waivers of Discrimination Claims in Employee Severance Agreements