Sometimes, employees get angry over some real or imagined slight and walk out. To make sure they really did quit and can’t claim constructive discharge, document your efforts to determine what happened.
Recent case: Kathleen Trela went to work for UPS, loading packages onto trucks. She later claimed her supervisor was mean to her and altered her package loading count. She, her supervisor and UPS managers held a meeting at which she accused the supervisor of altering her records. Trela stood up, announced “You win” to her supervisor and left the facility.
Managers called her three times to urge her to return, but she ignored the calls.
Then Trela sued for constructive discharge. The court tossed out her case, reasoning that Trela quit for no good reason, and that UPS did nothing to make her leave. (Trela v. United Parcel Service, No. 08-C-6195, ND IL, 2010)
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- Good-faith treatment for all is good policy, and good protection against lawsuits, too
- Former exec sues over missed severance payment
- Ease strict noncompete pacts or risk wrongful discharge claim
- When misbehavior demands termination, it's best to stick with one reason for firing