For an employee to file a wrongful termination claim, the general perception is that they must prove the employer fired them in violation of the employment contract or for unfair reasons. However, there are situations where an employee is forced to resign from their job because of intolerable or hostile working conditions. This is known as constructive discharge or constructive dismissal, where an employer creates such an environment for the employee that they have no choice left but to quit.
However, the employee can still file a claim or lawsuit on the grounds of wrongful termination even when they have voluntarily handed in their resignation. Most of the times, the intolerable working environment is the result of certain discriminatory acts, especially sexual harassment and the employer’s unresponsiveness towards the complaint. The investigative agencies use the reasonable person standard when determining whether there was a constructive discharge. This standard is based on whether or not a reasonable person, when faced with a similar situation, would resign from their job.
How to Prove You Were Forced to Quit?
There are several things you have to prove in order to establish yourself as a victim of constructive discharge. These things include the following:
- You were subjected to work in a hostile environment, illegal working conditions, or mistreated at work.
- You filed a complaint about the matter to your employer, supervisor, or human resources department, but no action was taken to remedy the situation and the mistreatment continued for a considerable amount of time.
- The working conditions or mistreatment was so bad or intolerable that a reasonable employee would decide to quit their job rather than to continue working in that environment.
- You resigned because you were mistreated.
However, this is still not enough to establish a solid ground for your claim. Since most people in the US work at will, the employer can fire them any time, and that too for any legal reason. That is why, apart from the above, you may also have to prove that your employer had an illegal reason for forcing you to quit. For example, if you have a manager that gives a really hard time to everyone in your department, this would not be enough to have a constructive discharge claim. But if they did so only to you, you are likely to have a strong claim.
Some common situations where a wrongful termination claim can be made on the grounds of constructive discharge include retaliation, discrimination, harassment, breach of contract, and others. Another important thing to keep in mind is that you must give your employer or management reasonable amount of time to look into the matter and take corrective action before you quit. For example, if you quit just after 2 or 3 days of making the complaint, you may not have a strong claim against your employer.
If you were forced to quit your job because of bad working conditions, you should discuss your case with an experienced Roselle wrongful termination attorney and evaluate your legal options to file a claim against constructive discharge. Contact the Law Office of Michael T. Smith today at 847.466.1099 for a consultation.