Court stands by employer's refusal to rescind worker's voluntary resignation
- A worker lost her court case when she sued her employer for not undoing her voluntary resignation, the San Diego Tribune reports.
- The California worker, Ruth Featherstone, decided to resign after an extended medical leave, per the Tribune. She later changed her mind and sued when her employer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group, refused to reinstate her. Featherstone said she filed the resignation while suffering effects from medication.
- The court of appeals reviewed the case and sided with the employer. The court said Southern California Permanente’s refusal to accept her request for reinstatement was not an “adverse employment action” under California’s anti-discrimination law which protects employees.
This unusual case is an example of various efforts to expand employee protections via either state law or court rulings. The NLRB, for example, has been expanding "protected speech," particularly in social media postings, for some time.
This case happened to work out in the employer’s favor, as the plaintiff in this case could not show that SCPMG knew about her disability or that the company's actions were motivated by her disability. Generally, an employer is allowed to accept a voluntary resignation, but if an employer has any suspicion at all that medication or mental instability contributed to their resignation, it may need to investigate and ensure it was actually voluntary.