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I-35 bridge collapse hero takes retirement settlement


Minneapolis Fire Department Capt. Shanna Hanson was off-duty when she heard of the I-35 bridge collapse in August 2007. Nevertheless, she grabbed her gear and dove into the Mississippi River in hopes of finding survivors. Television coverage of the disaster made Hanson a local hero. Now, accumulated injuries have taken their toll on the 19-year veteran, so she is taking a $113,000 workers’ compensation buyout and hanging up her fire helmet.

No adverse action? Then don’t fear constructive discharge


Employees sometimes quit and claim they had no choice because work conditions were so terrible. Sometimes, they sue. In most such cases—the argument is called “constructive discharge”—courts side with employers, provided there’s no evidence the employee suffered an adverse employment action such as a transfer, demotion or pay cut.

Nacogdoches ATV dealer faces constructive discharge suit

A former secretary at a Nacogdoches vehicle dealership says the sexual harassment there was so severe she had no choice but to quit. That’s the definition of “constructive discharge,” and it’s the basis of the lawsuit Jennifer Burch has filed against Eastex Tractor & Powersports.

When new employee quits, know the legal way to recoup your training costs


It’s expensive to train employees, especially if the job is highly specialized. Smart employers protect their investments by having new employees sign an agreement to repay training costs if they leave soon after receiving the valuable benefit. Here’s how to recoup those costs.

Nail down specific dates to defeat late lawsuits

Courts are losing patience with former employees who wait to sue an employer—as long as the employer can produce concrete proof that the employee filed too late.

Asking worker to stay can counter constructive discharge

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.

Beware constructive discharge: When work is so intolerable, employee feels he must quit


Every once in a while, an employee is such a pain in the neck that a manager wishes he would just quit. Methodically, the boss makes life increasingly difficult for the problem child. Finally, the employee resigns. Problem solved, right? Wrong! Now the employee can sue, claiming “constructive discharge.”

Remind bosses about legal risk of ‘make workers so miserable they quit’ strategy


Some supervisors wrongly assume that employees can’t sue if they quit—only if they’re fired. That makes some bosses think the best way to get rid of overly litigious employees is to make life so horrible that they quit. That’s not smart. Employees who find working conditions so intolerable that they have no choice but to quit can still sue for constructive discharge.

Discrimination or paranoia? Courts can distinguish

Courts are beginning to get tough on employees who say they had no choice but to quit and then sue for alleged discrimination.

Use exit interviews to identify patterns of supervisor’s hidden discrimination


Do you suspect a rogue supervisor is driving away employees belonging to a protected class? If so, begin asking tougher questions during your exit interviews. For example, if several black employees who work under the same supervisor have quit or requested transfers, find out why. The problem may be a biased supervisor …