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Worker quits in a huff and sues? Court: Employers need chance to fix problem

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in Human Resources,Maternity Leave Laws

Courts are starting to toss out lawsuits brought by employees who quit at the first sign of trouble without at least trying to work out a solution. Judges aren’t as willing as they were in the past to accept quitting as just another form of termination.

Instead, they seem to be telling employees they need to give their employers a chance to fix problems before resorting to litigation.

Recent case: Towanda Rankin worked for Mattamy Homes as a new home sales consultant. For the first year, she reported no problems or complaints.

Then she told her supervisor she was pregnant. From then on, Rankin claimed, things changed. She said she was “constantly criticized” and felt she had to quit.

She sued, alleging pregnancy discrimination.

But her complaint was short on details. For example, she provided no specifics on what kind of criticism caused her to perceive that her job was so terrible that she had no choice but to quit. Mattamy Homes asked the court to toss out the case because it was too vague.

The court agreed and said without specifics, there was no way to tell if she really had to quit. It dismissed the case. (Rankin v. Mattamy Homes, No. 1:10-CV-117, MD NC, 2010)

Final note: Publicize your anti-discrimination policies so employees know where to turn for help. If an employee quits, you’ll be able to show she should have asked for help before leaving.

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