The AmLaw Daily has an interview with Weldon Latham, head of Jackson Lewis' corporate diversity counseling group, in which Latham cautions companies to be especially cautious in their human resources decisions in these times of economic woe.
According to the piece, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission reported a 15 percent rise in workplace discrimination cases in 2008. Latham suggests that a little proactive thinking could help companies avoid those kinds of lawsuits before they arise.
Latham says that he and his firm encourage "companies to set up a business-based-need plan, laying off the people who they
need less," rather than engaging in a simpler, yet more dangerous, first-hired-first-fired system.
Legal departments should spread the word that HR departments need to come up with plans like these in order to minimize the risk of lawsuit, as well as maximize the business efficacy of the company's workforce.
Just make sure that your position is one the company needs before you do!