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Texas worker forced into no-choice choice

Sometimes an employer will offer a worker a choice that is in reality no choice at all. The perfect illustration can be found in the choice between being fired or retiring. No matter what the worker decides to do, he or she is out of a job.

We recently read of a worker who was faced with that no-win choice. She decided on retirement, but then she made another decision: to discuss the matter with a Texas employment law attorney and pursue a claim of age discrimination.

The case described by Business Management revolves around a Medicaid case worker named Martha. It was Martha's job to supervise other case workers and review their paperwork before it was submitted to our state's government.

According to the article, menopause triggered depression and other conditions in the over-60 woman. She took FMLA leave to address the issues.

After she returned to work, she found she was subject to heightened scrutiny and an increase in supervisor criticism at Texas Health and Human Services.

And then the no-choice offer was made: retire or be fired. Because she presumably had retirement benefits due her, she opted to retire. But after talking matters over with an employment law attorney, she hit back and sued, alleging age discrimination.

Health and Human Services argued that she had voluntarily chosen retirement and that regardless, retirement is not an adverse employment action. The U.S. District Court disagreed, ruling that her age discrimination claim could go forward in the justice system.

Business Management cautions employers considering backing workers into a retire-or-be-fired corner to speak with their employment law attorney about offering a severance payment in exchange for a release of claims.

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