What is constructive discharge?

| Jan 2, 2020 | Firm News |

If you file a discrimination claim against your employer in Michigan, the law protects you from retaliation, so your employer may not fire you. If the company did terminate the employment relationship, it would likely be a case of wrongful termination, and you may be able to sue your employer. 

Some unethical employers that want to avoid the consequences of a discrimination claim may attempt to rid themselves of an employee through constructive discharge in order to sidestep a claim of wrongful termination. 

According to FindLaw, an employee who resigns voluntarily may not sue the company for wrongful termination. So, the employer may attempt to make working conditions so intolerable that the employee resigns. If you quit under circumstances such as these, you may worry that you have lost your rights. The law does not necessarily consider this type of resignation voluntary, though. 

You will have the burden of proof when it comes to a constructive dismissal claim. The courts will want to see evidence that the situation at your work was so bad that any reasonable person in your circumstances would have felt forced to quit the job. The judge must agree that the conditions were particularly egregious and that it involved ongoing activity rather than a single incident. It will also be important for you to be able to show that your employer created these conditions intentionally, or at least knew about them and did nothing to stop them. 

Although constructive discharge claims have similar features, every case is unique. Therefore, this general overview should not be interpreted as legal advice.