• No Way to Say Good-Bye
  • January 31, 2012
  • Law Firm: Kaufman Canoles A Professional Corporation - Norfolk Office
  • According to the recent decision in Overly v. KeyBank Nat’l Ass’n, when a female financial advisor for KeyBank National Association in Indiana submitted her resignation letter, a male supervisor allegedly applauded, grabbed her arm to push her out a door, and yelled “Good riddance, b - - - h!” Not surprisingly, this led to a lawsuit that included claims of constructive discharge, sex discrimination and workplace harassment. Because other evidence was lacking, KeyBank ultimately prevailed in this litigation, but it was an expensive headache that perhaps could have been avoided with documented humane treatment of the departing financial advisor.

    Inappropriate communications alleged in this case are exactly what lawyers who sue employers look for because this sort of behavior causes juries to sympathize with terminated employees. If employers allow supervisors to engage in such inappropriate behavior, it may come back to haunt them in court. Common sense and supervisory training on appropriate separation procedures could well have kept KeyBank from becoming embroiled in costly and unnecessary litigation.

    FYI

    At the November 10th showing of the 28th Annual Employment Law Update, EEOC Investigator, Michael Johnson told the audience that many times, just treating the departing employee with respect and patiently listening to any concerns will keep the employee from lodging a claim with a government agency or court. What the supervisor allegedly did in this case was a far cry from what Investigator Johnson suggested to attendees.