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Breaking News: Refusing to Allow an Employee to Rescind His Or Her Voluntary Resignation Can Get You Sued

Here is the scenario. Your employee decides to voluntarily resign. She gives plenty of notice. Before her scheduled end date, the employee provides information relevant to a sexual harassment investigation involving her supervisor. Before the scheduled end date, the employee tries to rescind her employment. The supervisor refuses. Here’s the question: Is the refusal to allow the employee the opportunity to rescind her resignation an “adverse employment action” for purposes of a retaliation claim? It could be, at least according to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. A similar scenario played out in Porter v. Houma Terreboone Housing Authority. According to the court: “Just as an at-will employer does not have to hire a given employee, an employer does not have to accept a given employee’s rescission. Failing to do so in either case because the employee has engaged in a protected activity is nonetheless an adverse employment action.” This is something employers need to be aware of. Remember: thoroughly investigate all work place harassment claims. Also, separate the subject of the investigation from any decisional process regarding the employee’s employment. In a perfect world, the decision-maker would not have any knowledge regarding the employee’s “protected activity.”


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