Downsizing

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Downsizing

I’ve gone into a partnership tonight at a small
businessgrand island ny.I explained to two
employees so far what the plan was to only keep
three out of the five employees.I didn’t give a
date to the downsizing. without this measure
the business will close up shop and everyone
loses. Two so far are threatening to sue the
business. They’ve really let loose we
understand they’re upset but we haven’t even
officially told anyone exactly who we were
keeping. What laws do we have in our favor for
trying to save a business that is barely making
it

Asked on January 3, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Employment is employment at will in this nation unless there is a written employment contract guarantying an employee a job. If you are not violating a contract, you can lay off, terminate, etc. employees at will--you have an absolute right to do this, and they have no grounds to sue unless they can show that you made the decision as to who to terminate on a discriminatory basis (i.e. discriminated due to race, color, national origin, sex, age 40 or over, religion or disability). If if there are 5 employees, 3 of whom are white and 2 are black and you let go both black employees, they may be able to claim racial discrimination; if you let go the 2 employees who are female while keeping 5 males, that may be sex discrimination; if you keep 3 employees in their 30s but let go a 41 and a 50 year old, that may be age discrimination; etc. But if there are no contracts and no pattern of discrimination in whom you lay off, they should have no basis for legal action.


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