Early Retirement Offers: How to Structure and Apply without Legal Headaches

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Age discrimination, although a growing threat, may still be off your radar. For years, the focus was on race and gender issues, but in 2009, almost one quarter of the charges filed with the EEOC were age discrimination claims. And that number is growing.

With a slowly recovering economy, many employers are looking for ways to downsize, and encouraging early retirement for some employees is one option. But as the huge Baby Boomer generation hits typical retirement age, many longtime workers are deciding to keep their careers going, and leaving the workforce is not something they're willing to consider. Others, however, are eager to cash in on early retirement incentives.

So what does this mean for your organization? If you have employees on both sides of the fence, can you legally discuss early retirement options without setting yourself up for age discrimination claims? With such a fine line between succession planning and discrimination, you need to know exactly what you can do to prepare your organization for the future while avoiding costly lawsuits.