No one wants to conduct layoffs, but they can be crucial for a struggling or changing business. However, employers who make certain mistakes when laying people off can wind up causing more problems for themselves.
Discriminating against workers
Deciding who to lay off can create legal problems for an employer if the decision is discriminatory. For instance, choosing workers based on age, gender or other characteristics protected under the law can lead to lawsuits.
These are the claims some former employees at Twitter are alleging in a lawsuit. After buying the platform, Elon Musk terminated about half of the workers for reasons like not agreeing to adhere to his new “extremely hardcore” work demands.
The female workers who filed the suit argue that the layoffs disproportionately affected women. Often, women are family caregivers or primary parents, preventing them from complying with Musk’s demands.
To avoid similar allegations, employers would be wise to lay off people based on factors like lower performance, those hired most recently or those earning the most money.
Making empty promises
To soften the blow of termination, employers may feel tempted to promise to offer a worker a job in the future or a contracting opportunity. They might say they will help employees find new jobs or support them until they do.
However, making these promises puts employers in a bad position, particularly if they cannot or will not ultimately fulfill them.
Thus, employers would be wise to skip any statements they cannot or will not follow through on.
Creating unnecessary drama
Layoffs are emotional processes for employers and employees alike, so adding to the drama can be a costly error.
Some ways this can happen include:
- Being disrespectful to workers
- Putting their dismissal on display for others
- Falsifying the reasons for dismissal
- Holding a celebration or ceremony
- Ridiculing or insulting the workers
These decisions, regardless of the intentions behind them, can create an embarrassing or volatile situation.
Instead, employers can skip the drama. Keep the announcement short and respectful; consider how the employees will feel; have someone from Human Resources available to provide answers and guidance.
Employers who wish to keep layoffs as straightforward and painless as possible can utilize these tips and consult an attorney so they don’t make regrettable missteps.