Family Responsibilities - Discrimination

Hi -- If we have an employee who claims she was forced to quit because she's a working mother and we hired a replacement who is also a working mother, are we in the clear if the employee who quit files a discrimination charge?  Her performance was very uneven while she was here and was poor during the last 2 months she worked here.  Thanks for your help!


  • 5 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • what do you mean by "forced to quit"?  is she saying you did what the courts call "constructive discharge" (your company treated her so poorly that she was forced to quit), or is she saying that the she was unable to balance her caregiving responsibilities with the demands of the job?

    it really comes down to how you treat employees with caregiving duties. there is no specific protection for caregivers but if you treat a female caregiver differently than a male caregiver, reassign an employee based on the assumption that they won't be able to handle the job now that they are parents, or create a hostile work environment for a woman because she is a mother, it would be a violation of the law on discrimination. 

  • the fact that you hired another working mother is definitely a plus. i would also make sure that the employee's poor performance was documented somewhere  - constructive discharge is hard to prove and if you have documents it'll help.
  • The fact that you hired another working mother can help you show that this was not the reason you fired your other employee. It will be easier to show the termination was for work performance reasons.
  • With out forced to quit defined, here are a few questions. Do you have your documentation? Did you follow your pattern/policy of handling poor performance? Did she recieve warnings? Was she given oppoortunity to change? Did she know what to change to make the grade?
  • Who is she telling that she was "forced to quit"?  It sounds to me like she is, possibly, trying to get unemployment but may have been denied because she voluntarily quit.  Now, she is trying to make the case that the workplace was intolerable because she was a working mother and your company wasn't "family friendly" or something.  Although women are a protected class, working parents are not - at least, not yet.  If this IS an unemployment benefits issue, and if she voluntarily quit, then it doesn't matter if she found the work situation intolerable - she would have to prove that a "reasonable person" would have quit under the same circumstances.  That's pretty hard to do.  
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