Kruchowski, et al. v. The Weyerhaeuser Company

Misapplication of Requirements of Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA)

NCLC's Position

NCLC urged the Tenth Circuit to grant en banc review of a panel decision invalidating releases signed during a group reduction-in-force (RIF) because the affected employees were not informed of the RIF selection criteria and because the employer inaccurately described the decisional unit involved. The inaccuracy, though, did not affect the correctness of the actual OWBPA-required disclosures of the job titles and ages of the employees retained and those RIF’d. 

Case Outcome

The Tenth Circuit reissued and revised its opinion in this case omitting the discussion from its previous opinion that required the employer offering employees a release in connection with a reduction-in-force (RIF) to provide the selection criteria utilized in selecting employees for termination. The OWBPA requires companies to disclose information about who is eligible for the RIF program, but not which selection criteria is used in selecting the eligible employees. The court still ruled against Weyerhaeuser, however, by holding that the releases of the separated employees were invalid because they did not contain the appropriate information about who was included in the decisional unit for the RIF.

Procedural History

Motion to file amicus brief and amicus brief filed 9/26/05. Motion granted 9/30/05. Decided 5/2/06.

Case Documents