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That's It--I Quit!

It may sound like nonsense, but former employees can sue you for unlawful termination even if you didn't fire them.

This story appears in the November 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Life was looking good for a waitress when she waspromoted to maitre d' and pastry chef at the restaurant whereshe worked, an uncharacteristic move from ownership that made herthe only woman in a management position there. But within a fewmonths, it seemed that the promotion must have been a mistake.

She found she was excluded from management meetings and haddifficulty ordering supplies. Later, she discovered the owner andthe general had decided they didn't want a woman asmaitre d' because she didn't "fit the mold." Shelearned the general manager had boasted she wouldn't be therelong and asked the chef to find a man to replace her. Then the chefaccused her of stealing and drinking on the job--charges, she lateralleged, suggested by the owner of the business. She even foundwine bottles wrapped in an apron, hidden in her locker as ifshe'd stolen them. After numerous unsuccessful attempts todiscuss all this with the owner, she finally resigned--then suedover sex discrimination, claiming that, in effect, she'd beenillegally terminated.

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