Businesses are under constant pressure to increase their profits year after year. That can be particularly difficult, as the economy changes and evolves over time. Demands for goods and services ebb and wane, and even the best company can't perpetually turn record-breaking profits.
Unfortunately, obligations to shareholders and investors can sometimes outweigh an employer's sense of duty or obligation to its employees or even to the law. Companies may engage in questionable or even illegal tactics to reduce their operating expenses and increase their profit margin. That could mean firing employees who make more (usually older workers) to replace them with lower-paid staff.
Restructuring is a common scheme employed by companies trying to increase their profit margin by eliminating excess staffing and redundant positions. Sometimes, restructuring is a smokescreen for discrimination. Employers get rid of older workers, disabled workers or even workers who cost more to insure. If you believe that happened in your company, you may be able to take action against your employer.
Restructuring should not target individuals or groups
When a company restructures, it should actively change some of the ways it does business. That could include streamlining certain aspects of how it provides goods or services. It may also mean combining certain positions or departments within the company. Doing so can lower operating costs. However, restructuring has to happen in an objective and fair manner, not in a way that targets certain people or groups.
If a company lets an entire department go, that is probably a good sign that they have complied with regulations regarding how they handle their restructuring process. If, instead, they hand-pick individuals from different departments to terminate, that could give rise to claims of discrimination.
Losing your job during a restructuring event is stressful, but sometimes it is also illegal. You have the right to fair employment, which includes being free from wrongful termination over protected characteristics, such as your age or disability.
Do the people who got let go have anything in common?
One of the easiest ways to prove discrimination was a major factor during a recent restructuring event at a company is to compare the positions and personal information of the individuals terminated as part of the restructuring effort.
If they are all over a certain age, or from a similar racial or religious background or another protected group, then that is a strong indicator that the restructuring may have been a means for the company to engage in illegal employment discrimination.
If you believe that your termination was wrongful because the restructuring itself was biased or discriminatory, sitting down with an experienced Colorado employment attorney can help you decide what steps to take next.