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I’ve gone into a partnership tonight at a small
businessgrand island ny.I explained to two
employees so far what the plan was to only keep
three out of the five employees.I didn’t give a
date to the downsizing. without this measure
the business will close up shop and everyone
loses. Two so far are threatening to sue the
business. They’ve really let loose we
understand they’re upset but we haven’t even
officially told anyone exactly who we were
keeping. What laws do we have in our favor for
trying to save a business that is barely making

Asked on January 3, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Employment is employment at will in this nation unless there is a written employment contract guarantying an employee a job. If you are not violating a contract, you can lay off, terminate, etc. employees at will--you have an absolute right to do this, and they have no grounds to sue unless they can show that you made the decision as to who to terminate on a discriminatory basis (i.e. discriminated due to race, color, national origin, sex, age 40 or over, religion or disability). If if there are 5 employees, 3 of whom are white and 2 are black and you let go both black employees, they may be able to claim racial discrimination; if you let go the 2 employees who are female while keeping 5 males, that may be sex discrimination; if you keep 3 employees in their 30s but let go a 41 and a 50 year old, that may be age discrimination; etc. But if there are no contracts and no pattern of discrimination in whom you lay off, they should have no basis for legal action.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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