Reductions in Force Litigation on the Rise

Avoiding and Defending Lawsuits Arising From Layoffs

Layoffs reach highest level in 30 years

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

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Conducted on Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Course Materials

This seminar will review current RIF litigation trends and provide best practices for employers and their counsel to avoid or defend lawsuits arising from layoffs.


The economic crisis has led to a record number of reductions in force (RIFs) across all industries. As layoffs increase, lawsuits alleging violations of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act), discrimination laws and wage and hour laws are mounting.

Employers find RIFs daunting, both in dealing with employee issues and protecting the company from liability. Attorneys advising employers must fully understand the potential legal exposure for RIFS gone wrong in order to help clients avoid lawsuits resulting from their conduct during a layoff.

Further, employment litigators must devise effective strategies for defending employers against individual and class action lawsuits alleging unlawful actions by the employer during the layoff process.

Listen as our panel of employment law attorneys reviews current RIF litigation trends and provides best practices for employers and their counsel on avoiding and defending lawsuits arising from layoffs.



  1. Current litigation trends related to RIFs
  2. Best practices for avoiding lawsuits
    1. Document the business justifications for the reduction
    2. Determine whether proposed termination decisions have disparate impact on legally-protected groups
    3. Determine whether WARN Act is implicated
    4. Determine wage and hour implications
    5. Decide whether to seek release agreements from terminated employees
  3. Best practices for defending lawsuits
    1. Affirmative defenses
    2. Class certification strategies
    3. Discovery strategies
    4. Settlement strategies


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • How has the economic crisis impacted employee layoffs and associated litigation?
  • What steps should an employer take during the planning and implementation of a RIF to avoid lawsuits after the layoffs have been implemented?
  • What strategies are effective for defending litigation against employers arising from RIFS gone awry?


Charles A. Edwards
Charles A. Edwards

Attorney at Law
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice

He has represented employers in all phases of labor and employment law for over 35 years. His clients range from...  |  Read More

Mark R. Cheskin
Mark R. Cheskin

Hogan Lovells

He has extensive experience in national employment law. He focuses on complex employment and commercial litigation. He...  |  Read More

Arlene Switzer Steinfield
Arlene Switzer Steinfield

K&L Gates

Representing management, she litigates employment discrimination cases, counsels employers on preventative compliance...  |  Read More

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