Addressing redundancy can be dangerous during a merger

Merging two existing businesses or two offices or departments of an existing company can make your operations more efficient and reduce your business’s expenses. However, a big part of reducing those costs usually stems from eliminating redundant positions and either changing people’s work responsibilities or eliminating the excess positions.

Needing to eliminate a number of employees at one time means that your company has more risk than when it just needs to let one person go. Your company will need to look carefully at the staff and departments it currently has and then make decisions about which people should continue to perform those functions and which people are no longer necessary.

When making decisions about who to let go and how to streamline your business, you could wind up putting your company at risk of allegations of discrimination and even lawsuits from former workers if you aren’t careful.

Have multiple stages of review before announcing decisions

Some companies bring in outside experts to evaluate the existing staff and setup of the company. Other times, you may rely on your executive, human resources or management teams to make these critical decisions.

Instead of having one person or team have total control over staff decisions, it’s better to have one person or team make initial suggestions that must then pass review by multiple others. For example, someone in human resources may not know as well as management does that certain members of the team do tasks that other people don’t have the training or skills perform. More importantly, secondary checks can help verify whether or not internal bias impacts who gets fired.

Look at people being let go for similar protected traits

As an employer, you cannot consider characteristics like age if someone is over 40, religion, gender or race when deciding who to hire, promote, retain or terminate. Reviewing the suggested layoffs or terminations for your business might help you identify traits that exist in many of those selected.

If the group of people being let go disproportionately includes people of one gender, one race or another characteristic, you could face discrimination claims unless you reevaluate some of those decisions. Getting help during a merger or any kind of structural change to your company can help you avoid situations that could create liability for your business.