ABC News has reported the
interesting case of an employee who asked to have time off because of a
pregnancy and was told that since she did not have leave available under the
FMLA, she would be treated as a voluntary resignation when she did not report
to work. The employee recorded the conversation without the company's
knowledge. Her attorney contacted the company which changed its position
and granted her leave to have the baby. The women has filed charges with
the EEOC and the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights.
So, the woman had her baby in January and presumably is back to work. Now
from the company's perspective, it is looking at a very delicate situation.
There are not too many employers who would be happy with employees who secretly
tape conversations. Absent a policy/rule prohibiting secret recordings,
what recourse does an employer have? States are not uniform in the
approach to this issue: some states require the two parties to the conversation
to consent while others require consent from only one party. Connecticut
is a state that requires consent two parties.
Do they take action based on the recording in the absence of a policy
prohibiting it? Is this an invitation to a retaliation case? What
is the realistic prospect for everyone to simply start over and to be
This facts highlight why there has been such a dramatic increase
of retaliation charges and cases. An employee has filed a
charge, and an employer is in a difficult legal position. While filing a
charge does not give an employee immunity from having to perform or unlimited
job security , it often has that effect. It would not be surprising to
hear that the employee has left the company after settling her charges.
For additional Labor and Employment law
insights from John
Holmquist , visit the Michigan Employment Law
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