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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 38910
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I work as one of three National Sales Directors for a Fortune

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I work as one of three National Sales Directors for a Fortune 500 company who is reducing its workforce. They recently reduced the number of Sales Directors from 3 to 2 and my position was eliminated. It was surprising they chose me as was not the least qualified or experienced and did not have the worst performance. Is my employer required to tell me what criteria they used to choose which employee would lose their job?

There is no law that requires an employer to explain to an employee the criteria for a layoff/downsizing. However, if you are age 40 or older, and your coworkers are substantially younger than you, that could be a sign that you were laid off in violation of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) or the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). There are, of course, other bases for unlawful discrimination (race, color, nationality, religion, sex, age, disability, etc.) -- but, age is the one which is most frequently implicated in a layoff where no obvious reason is demonstrated.

Unfortunately, if you are under age 40, then you would have no basis for an age discrimination complaint. Otherwise, if your facts fall in line with my description, then you can file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), and they can get the records that you cannot obtain without first filing a lawsuit.

These would be your only option to force disclosure of the layoff criteria.

Hope this helps.
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