Asking worker to stay can counter constructive discharge

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in Firing,Human Resources

Employees who believe they work in a hostile environment can quit and claim they were “constructively discharged,” arguing that no reasonable person would stay and suffer intolerable conditions. But when an employer responds to a resignation with entreaties to stay, chances are the employee will have a hard time arguing things were so terrible she had to quit.

Recent case: Josephine Miller had some conflicts with her supervisor and once heard him say something derogatory about a black man he had fired. Miller submitted her resignation, claiming she couldn’t take the hostile environment anymore.

But her employer repeatedly asked her to stay. The court ruled that that was evidence the company was committed to making work attractive to Miller. In fact, it even offered to promote her. The court dismissed her case. (Miller v. Praxair, No. 09-2962, 2nd Cir., 2010)

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