Nonmeaningful Response to Workplace Complaint Creates Liability For Employers

Attorney Murphy is very pleased with a Department of Unemployment Assistance (“DUA”) final decision to grant unemployment benefits to his client, Ms. Gudrun Buckley, a healthcare recruiter.  Buckley v. Healthcare Services Management, Department of Unemployment Assistance, Docket No. 601342.  Initially, the DUA ruled Ms. Buckley did not have a sufficient reason to quit her job and denied her unemployment benefits.  Thereafter, Attorney Murphy represented Ms. Buckley at the DUA administrative appeal hearing. 

Ms. Buckley quit her job due to hostile work conditions allegedly caused by her direct supervisor.  Significantly, Ms. Buckley quit only after she raised her issues directly to the President of the company.  It is likely that the President received flawed legal advice from his in house counsel because the President informed Ms. Buckley that his hands were tied as far as taking any corrective action.  Indeed, at the appeal hearing Attorney Murphy took aim on the President’s inaction while bolstering Ms. Buckley’s credibility as a seasoned healthcare recruiter with over two decades of experience.  Indeed, the DUA’s decision to grant Ms. Buckley unemployment benefits specifically noted her testimony as credible in concluding it had been established by substantial and credible evidence that she left her job with good cause attributable to the employer.

Attorney Murphy notes this case provides important guidance in “employee quit” cases: if a workplace complaint arises both employers and employees must understand their respective duty to take corrective action.

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