The New Year brings no signs of where the economy is heading. The stock markets are moving up and down with no apparent pattern and businesses across the world are cautiously watching the global economy for signs of weakness. As a result of the uncertainty, companies continue to struggle with labor planning for next year. Will companies reduce the number of employees, keep the number the same or increase headcount in 2012?
In the midst of uncertainty with respect to staffing levels, human resource professionals and legal counsel should continually plan and prepare for the potential necessity of cutting back on labor costs. Companies and their legal counsel can take steps well in advance to protect the company in the event of the need for a reduction in labor costs. These proactive steps are not only good human resources practice, but also can help protect the company from unwanted litigation and liability in the future.