Constructive discharge differs from other types of employment termination. It is a type of termination hat occurs in the event that an employee is compelled to resign since the employer has, in some way, made his or her working conditions unbearable.
What Do Constructive Discharge Cases Look Like?
An employee is discharged constructively in the event that the employee can no longer remain working due to hostile working conditions. This is very different from the general resignation, or even from firing or any other form of separation of employment. An intolerable or unbearable working environment may be caused by harassment, discrimination or mistreatment, or even through receiving a change in job duties or in pay for non-work related reasons. A situation where an employer harasses an employee until they resign from their post instead of dismissing them is an example of an employer attempting constructive discharge.
What Are Constructive Discharge Cases Usually Based On?
Generally, mistreatment or harassment involves breaking the federal law which prohibits discrimination of any kind, whether based on national origin, age, religion, gender or race. Grounds for constructive discharge complaints typically also stem from retaliation against those who are called ‘whistleblowers’, which also creates a hostile working condition. a constructive discharge may result from a single incident or from multiple incidents.
Take Action As Soon As Possible
It works in better favor of the employee if the employee chooses to resign shortly after the incident, as it is stated by the statute of limitations that complaints about private-sector employees are defined as 180 days from the date they provide notice. This is 300 days in the event that the state also has laws that prohibit the behavior that resulted in the notice. Federal employees, on the other hand, have a window of just 45 days within which they can contact a counselor from the Equal Employment Opportunity. It was ruled in the US Supreme Court that the countdown begins only when the notice is provided, not when the last incident of discrimination occurred. Of course, state laws may differ from state to state and these must be check as they are also revised from time to time.
Legal Issues Surrounding Constructive Discharge
Many issues surround constructive discharge, like wrongful termination, eligibility for unemployment benefits or employment at will. A wrongful termination suit can be filed against an employer if an employee feels they had to leave their position because their job environment was purposefully made unbearable. There is help available for such situations, and the labor department in your state will offer guidance. At-will employment means an employee can leave work at any time according to the company rules, but in the event of constructive discharge, damages may be charged and unemployment benefits could be applied for. In regular circumstances, employees who leave work voluntarily are not allowed unemployment benefits and lose their rights to sue the company in question for wrongful termination, but when it comes to constructive discharge, the tables turn.
Filing a Constructive Disachrage Complaint
Should an employee be of the opinion that their resignation may count as a constructive discharge case, then the next step to take should be to file a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Also, it is likely best if an employee can consult with an employment lawyer, who has experience with such cases. Time here is again of utmost importance and you probably only have a few days within which you can file or lodge your complaint.
Proving Constructive Discharge Claims
Naturally, since the complaint is lodged by the employee, it becomes the responsibility of the employee to gather proof oof such circumstances, but with the help of legal departments and legal counsel, employees can receive good guidance and will be helped in every way possible. It is generally expected that the employee lodging the complaint is able to prove the mistreatment or discrimination they received from their employer. Further, they need proof of having reached out to remedy the situation via communication with a supervisor, management or the human resources department of the company in question, and that the issue persisted. If the resignation occurs too long after the issue, the employee will be asked why it took so long for him or her to leave.