Constructive Discharge Attorneys in Moorestown
The leaders in employment law,
Richard Schall and
Patricia Barasch, represent Moorestown employees that have been constructively discharged
by their employer. Constructive discharge, also known as constructive
dismissal, occurs when an employer forces an employee to resign. In essence,
an employer creates such a hostile work environment that the employee
cannot reasonably remain as an employee.
What Is Constructive Discharge?
A direct discharge is when an employer fires an employee. In contrast,
a constructive discharge occurs when an employer allows a work environment
to become so intolerable that although the employee resigned, the employer
was effectively responsible for their employee’s resignation. Unbearable
working conditions could include harassment, discrimination, receiving
an adverse change in pay or job duties for reasons that are not work-related.
Typically, when an employee voluntarily leaves a job, they are not entitled
to unemployment benefits. The employee forfeits the right to sue for wrongful
termination by quitting. In the case of a constructive discharge, however,
the employee might be eligible for both.
What Constitutes Constructive Discharge in New Jersey?
If an employee quits because they feel they faced unfair treatment at work
does not mean they were necessarily constructively discharged. Quitting
due to disciplinary proceedings or quitting before a pending direct discharge
does not constitute constructive discharge.
To constitute constructive discharge, one or both of the following conditions
must be met:
Hostile work environment: The employer or coworkers created intolerable working conditions that
made it impossible for the employee to complete their work. To claim constructive
discharge due to a hostile work environment, the work environment must
meet the state and federal standards. This means that the hostile work
environment resulted from discriminatory behavior.
Coercion: The employer threatened adverse employment actions that motivated the
employee’s forced resignation.
If you were constructively discharged, you may be able to file a wrongful
termination, discrimination, or harassment lawsuit. This also allows you
to file for unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits are typically
not available to employees who voluntarily resign.
What Constitutes Intolerable Working Conditions?
Merely having a mean, insensitive, cruel boss or a bully of a coworker
does not mean your work environment is “hostile,” or your
working conditions are “intolerable.” It will not be enough
to merely show that your supervisor treated you poorly or that you were
no longer happy in your position. Rather, you must prove that the working
conditions you endured were objectively intolerable. To meet this standard,
an average person in your situation would have similarly been compelled
to resign. This, in general, is a high standard that is difficult to meet.
The behavior, actions, and/or communications must be discriminatory on
the basis of race, gender, religion, color, sexual orientation, pregnancy,
age, disability, ancestry, or membership in another protected class.
Do I Have a Case for Constructive Discharge?
If you felt you had no choice but to quit your job because of an intolerable
work environment, you might be able to sue. However, keep in mind that
the burden of proof lies with the employee in constructive discharge claims.
With your employment law attorney, you will need to prove that you suffered
through unbearable work conditions. Next, you will provide documentation
that you complained to your supervisor, HR, management, or other relevant
authority, but the problem continued.
Whistleblowers who face retaliation at work due to their whistleblowing activities who resign due to intolerable
working conditions may also sue for constructive discharge. If you requested
and were denied reasonable accommodations for your disability and subsequently
found it impossible to complete your work, you may have grounds for constructive
For detailed information on how we can help you with your unique situation,
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