When 'downsizing', some companies will engage in the illegal practice of terminating older, better paid workers and retaining the younger ones who are paid less. This obviously saves the company an extra wad of money but at the same time puts in a shambles the lives of many who devoted their working lives to the ungrateful company. In California, the practice is illegal and constitutes wrongful termination under state and federal law.
In employment cases, it's often the case that employers express a different reason for a termination than what the employee believes to be the actual reason. In California and other jurisdictions, when the employer is involved in a wrongful termination of an employee, the employer will often make up what is called a 'pretextual' reason for the termination. It's a false reason designed to put the best face on what the employer has done.