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Less prestigious job leads to constructive discharge

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in Firing,Human Resources

After a top-performing African-American server at Denny's was transferred to a different location, the restaurant unexpectedly reassigned her to busing tables. She walked off the job and sued, alleging that she was constructively discharged on the basis of race. An appeals court sided with her. Reason: The job had less "prestige" and unfavorable work hours, so it could have been a pretext for racial bias.

The lesson: Make sure your front-line managers know there can be just as much legal jeopardy in making a worker's job so intolerable that he's forced to quit (constructive discharge) as there is in firing that worker. (Logan v. Denny's Inc., 259 F.3d 558, No. 99-4395, 6th Cir., 2002)

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