People who lose their jobs as part of a downsizing effort by their employer may feel wronged. Many times, that feeling is natural but inaccurate. Other times, it is completely justifiable based on the circumstances.
Although downsizing is important after a merger or when a company has financial trouble, discrimination should not play a role in downsizing decisions. It is surprisingly common for human resources or management members to hide their discriminatory employment practices behind an attempt at restructuring or downsizing.
How can you prove that discrimination played a role in the decision to let you go?
Can you show a trend in the employment decisions the company made?
Perhaps the easiest way to prove that discrimination influenced the downsizing decisions made by your company is to look at who the company kept and who they let go. When a specific group of employees has disproportionate representation in the employees retained or the employees terminated, that can be a warning of discrimination.
If the company let go almost everyone over the age of 40 or from a particular racial background, that could be a sign that discrimination influenced their decisions. So could the fact that everyone they retained all share certain characteristics, like the same sex or religion. When a company uses downsizing to get rid of workers based on their protected characteristics rather than their job performance, those workers may need to take legal action against the company for discrimination.
Recognizing your termination during a downsizing as a form of wrongful termination could help you fight back against this more subtle form of workplace discrimination.