What happens when you have been wronged by a coworker or your employer, your employer refuses to do anything, and the wrong continues? Are you forced to stay at the company? Do you quit?
How about if your employer literally threatens to physically harm you if you do not quit, thereby forcing you to quit? This may seem extreme, but it is exactly what happened to Mr. Hammond in Hammond v. United of Oakland.
Unfortunately, these are questions that many employees face when they have been subjected to mistreatment, discrimination, or harassment.
Many employers will not fire an employee, despite their complaints, out of fear of being sued. However, employees who have been subjected to severe conduct may be able to claim constructive discharge.
What Is Constructive Discharge?
Constructive discharge occurs when a workplace becomes so intolerable that no reasonable employee would continue working there. Thus, an employee is forced to quit due to the conduct they are facing.
Proving a case for constructive discharge is a high burden for an employee to meet. Allegations of constructive discharge are highly fact-specific and will require an in-depth analysis to determine if the reason for resignation meets the threshold to be considered an effective termination.
How to Prove Constructive Discharge
First, an employee must prove that the conduct they faced was severe and pervasive. This will require an analysis of the specific facts of your case. Courts have said that a one-time incident is generally not enough—that is, unless the incident is sufficiently severe.
Second, you must be able to demonstrate that no reasonable person would have continued to be employed given your circumstances. This can be a difficult burden to meet with a jury, as what people consider reasonable varies from person to person.
Is Constructive Discharge a Legal Claim?
It is important to note that constructive discharge is not a legal claim in and of itself. Litigants still claim they were wrongfully discharged. This is an important legal distinction: Since the employee was effectively forced to resign due to the conduct they faced, the court does not view the resignation as an actual resignation.
Even with facts that you believe should warrant resignation, the court or jury may disagree. Having an experienced attorney on your side is critical.
At Grewal Law PLLC, our Michigan attorneys are skilled in handling employment claims involving constructive discharge. Protect your rights; put our attorneys in your corner. Call (888) 211-5798 or contact us online to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.