The cost of an age-based layoff: $2.2 million.

If you're planning to terminate a group of employees in a reduction in force, be sure to assess the possible adverse impact the RIF might have on older workers--anyone age 40 or older.

And while it's wise to have laid-off workers waive their rights to sue for discrimination, such agreements must include very specific language relating to age bias (see Online resource below).

Recent case: Alison was 49 years old when she lost her job at AT&T as part of a RIF. The company had ranked workers to eliminate, but the workers retained were significantly younger.

Alison sued, claiming management manipulated the rankings to lay off the oldest employees. A jury awarded...

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