Reductions in Force and Layoff Alternatives: Minimizing Employer Liability

Best Practices to Ensure Compliance with WARN, ADEA and FLSA

EEOC announces hearings on age bias in the workplace

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Thursday, September 3, 2009

Course Materials

This seminar will outline best practices for employers' counsel planning and implementing reductions in force and alternatives to layoffs. The panel will discuss key considerations to minimize liability exposure under a complex variety of federal and state employment laws.


Reductions in force (RIFs) have become a routine part of business in the past year. Employers find RIFs daunting, both in dealing with employee issues and protecting the company from legal liability. A dramatic increase in WARN lawsuits over the past year has only intensified employer fears.

Employers are also showing more interest in alternatives to layoffs—including furloughs, work share programs, incentives for taking time off involuntarily and part-time work schedules. Legal advisors are increasingly called on to weigh in on the wage and hour implications of such arrangements.

Attorneys advising and representing employers must fully understand the potential liability for RIFs gone wrong to advise employers on policies and procedures that will minimize the legal risks of conducting layoffs or implementing other cost-saving alternatives.

Listen as our panel of experienced employment attorneys offers strategies for planning and executing RIFs and layoff alternatives to avoid or minimize employer liability under WARN, ADEA, FLSA and other federal and state employment laws.



  1. Alternatives to reductions in force (RIFs)
    1. Reducing costs of active workforce
    2. Reducing workforce short of a RIF
    3. Pros and cons of such approaches
  2. Planning a RIF
    1. Impact of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions
    2. Impact of age discrimination laws and court decisions
    3. Best practices for RIFs
  3. WARN Act Issues\Employee release agreements
    1. Federal WARN Act problem areas
    2. Employee release agreements


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What steps should an employer take during the planning and execution of a reduction in force to protect the company against liability for discrimination, WARN and wage and hour violations?
  • What wage and hour concerns are implicated by alternatives to layoffs?
  • What are some best practices for drafting employee releases that will withstand court scrutiny?


Robert W. Ashmore
Robert W. Ashmore

Fisher & Phillips

He represents employers in labor and employment law and has extensive experience handling reductions in force. He is a...  |  Read More

David J. Murphy
David J. Murphy

Morrison & Foerster

He represents management regarding the employment aspects of mergers, acquisitions, restructuring and outsourcing;...  |  Read More

Karen G. Schanfield
Karen G. Schanfield

Fredrikson & Byron

She represents and advises employers in all aspects of labor and employment law. She is a frequent lecturer and author...  |  Read More

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