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The difference between voluntary resignation and constructive discharge

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In January 2019, the plaintiff told Harris that her coworkers were spreading rumors about her and requested information about the Employee Assistance Program so that she could receive counseling. Harris promptly provided this information and reminded her that an investigation was ongoing and that Varela was relieved from work duty.

Later that month, the OIG upheld the plaintiff’s allegations against Varela and notified her about its findings. That same day, the plaintiff told Harris saying she did not feel safe using her assigned parking space and asked for another location closer to her home where she could access the vehicle issued by the employer. Harris assigned her to a new parking location.

Harris started the process for terminating Varela’s employment. In February 2019, the plaintiff voluntarily resigned from her employment. Three days later, Varela resigned before Harris could complete the termination process.

In August 2019, the plaintiff filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She made claims of sex discrimination, retaliation, and hostile work environment. In October 2020, she filed a lawsuit with the same claims against the city. She alleged that the city’s actions and inactions led to her constructive discharge.

The city filed a summary judgment motion alleging that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the plaintiff’s failure to exhaust her administrative remedies barred her suit against the city.

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