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Down And Out

Deny a pink-slipped manager a chance to be "bumped down," and you could get in trouble.

By Ellen Paris

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Are you in the midst of layoffs and have a manager who isn'tcutting it? It may be time for him to go; before he does, checkwith your lawyer to prevent a possible lawsuit. Legally, it mightbe better to bump that employee down to another position. A recentage-discrimination case has added another ruling that could hurtemployers. Firing a senior employee and hiring a younger person fora lower-level job without offering it to the pink-slipped execcould spell trouble for you.

"The message and the lesson learned in these cases is thatemployers should not be making decisions based on age," saysJoseph Sellers, head of the civil rights practice at theWashington, DC, law firm of Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll.No longer does it take an outright discrimination case for thecourts to rule against an employer. Warns Sellers, "The courtshave become very sophisticated in looking at certain circumstancesand recognizing discrimination, even if it's onlyinferred."

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