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Employee Terminations or Layoffs Best Practices

  • Engage in short-term and long-term strategic planning:
    • Attempt to avoid or minimize laying off workers;
    • Plan for the future -- make adjustments now to limit future downsizing;
    • Establish a staffing plan, including a needs assessment for the short and the long terms;
    • Establish a communication plan for the employees;
    • Formulate an outplacement plan.
  • Be proactive in helping employees adjust to employment status changes.
  • Consider an early retirement program to ameliorate the possible downsizing of other employees.
  • Provide for training, placement, and/or redeployment programs within the company.
  • Consider assistance to laid-off workers to find new jobs, including outplacement, severance pay, counseling, education, training, grants, and loans.
  • Establish a rehire list for laid-off workers.
  • Ensure that personnel involved in the termination and downsizing process are well trained in their equal employment opportunity responsibilities.
  • Link management pay to performance and progress in equal employment opportunity when undergoing termination and downsizing.

Many of the recommendations here are drawn from the EEOC Commission Task Force Report entitled Best Practices for Public Sector Employers.  This report presents a broad overview of the practices through which corporate America has been addressing its obligations to equal employment opportunity and workplace diversity. Although this report was issued in 1997, many of the insights it contains are still applicable today.