I worked for a wireless retailer for ten years. About six months after my employment began I was given more and more responsibilities and within a year I was running the entire company.

The organization was owned by two cousins. I worked closely with one of them and we began a personal relationship. This did not affect our working relationship, in fact no one but us knew until about one year ago.

When the other partner found out my position became very difficult. He would constantly complain to other employees (who worked under me) about me. He would try just about anything to create a hostel enviroment for me. I ignored his behavior and continued with business as usual thinking that if he saw it was not going to get to me he would eventually give up.

That did not happen and things became worse to the point I felt I had no other option but to give my notice and leave.

This is very difficult for me because I have given my all and assisted in growing this company from two locations to five in the ten years I worked there and now I am forced to start over elsewhere.

My question is there any action I can take to either get my job back or receive severance pay for all the years I put in and would have put in had I not been forced to leave for nothing more than jealosy.

1 answer  |  asked Nov 20, 2006 1:26 PM [EST]  |  applies to Pennsylvania

Answers (1)

Christopher Ezold
You may have a claim, but quitting your job makes it more difficult to pursue.

Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania or Federal law apply, unless otherwise specified.

That being said, you may have a claim, but quitting your job makes it more difficult to pursue. Your claim would be based on the other cousin's behavior; was he treating you badly because he was jealous of your relationship? If so, he may have violated the law prohibiting discrimination and harassment based on sex. Your long history with the company gives rise to an inference that you would have stayed with the company for a long time; your damages might be significant. Therefore, you may have a claim that would allow you to seek compensation for having been forced out of a job.

However, your having quit presents a legal and a practical challenge. First, you now have to prove that the harassment was so pervasive that your quitting is more accurately described as a termination. This burden does not exist if you are still employed there or if you are fired. Second, not being there deprives you of access to witnesses and the added pressure that your presence creates for an employer who now wants you gone. It is always easier to settle claims when the employee is still employed.

Generally, you should NEVER QUIT a job due to harassment or discrimination before speaking with an attorney, especially if you intend to pursue a claim. At the very least, your ability to collect unemployment is reduced.

You may still have a good claim, depending on the facts of the harassment and your leaving. Without the facts, however, I cannot tell you whether your claim is worth pursuing.

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me at the below address(es) or number.

/Christopher E. Ezold/
Nancy O'Mara Ezold, P.C.
One Belmont Avenue,
Suite 501
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
(610) 660-5585

posted by Christopher Ezold  |  Nov 20, 2006 1:45 PM [EST]

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