The biggest lie in business is that “Nothing will change after the merger or reorganization.” Any experienced employee knows that things restructuring inevitably means that some jobs or even whole departments will no longer exist at the company.
Restructuring is a strategic decision that businesses undergo in the hope of minimizing operational costs and maximizing employee output. When properly performed, restructuring can benefit everyone, including management and staff. However, companies may also use restructuring as an excuse to get rid of employees that they otherwise could not terminate without claims of discrimination.
From disabled workers and whistleblowers to pregnant workers and older employees, many legally protected workers can find themselves out of a job during restructuring. If restructuring is only a cover for discrimination, those workers may have the right to file wrongful termination claims.
Just because your employer eliminated your position or terminated your job with the company as part of a restructuring effort does not mean that you don’t have any legal right to recourse. It simply places a slightly higher burden of proof on you to establish a pattern of mistreatment or otherwise prove that you are a victim of wrongful termination.
Thankfully, there are many ways in which an employee can prove to the court that their termination was inappropriate and wrongful. One of the best starting points is to gather information about which employees lost their jobs. Many times, you can find similarities within the group, such as all workers over a certain age or all workers involved in a formal complaint against the company.
If you can show that there is reason to believe the company used restructuring as a means to hide their retaliatory or discriminatory termination of certain workers, you likely have grounds for a wrongful termination suit.
If you wait until you lose your job to consider the potential that restructuring could serve as a cover for illegally firing workers, it may be more difficult for you to gather the information and evidence you need. Rather than waiting until you actually lose your job, you should begin documenting things as soon as management announces the restructuring.
You may want to start with keeping a written journal that outlines why you think you may be targeted in your past experiences within the company. You can also print, forward or otherwise save emails and other digital communications that indicate either retaliation or discrimination.
Finally, you can use the opportunity to connect with coworkers so that you can verify who maintained their position at the end of the process. Anyone who believes they lost their job due to wrongful termination has the right to take legal action against their employer. Preparing yourself ahead of time and informing yourself about your rights can improve your chances of success.
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