Forced To Quit: What To Do When Constructive Termination Is Imminent
Whether you refer to it as constructive termination, constructive discharge or constructive dismissal, it describes what happens when an employee can no longer tolerate the workplace environment and decides to quit. The employer does not fire the employee; the employee makes the decision to quit because there seems to be no other choice. L
If you are facing constructive termination because of harassment, discrimination or retaliation on the part of your employer or its management, you may have a case for constructive termination in New Jersey. When leaving your job feels imminent you need to get the facts.
As you probably know, you will not likely be eligible for unemployment benefits if you are not fired by an employer. There are some situations where employees who were forced to leave did file for unemployment and receive it, but you’ll need the help of an employment attorney to determine your rights to unemployment compensation when you are the one terminating your employment.
Whether or not you file for and receive unemployment benefits, you may be considering a lawsuit against your employer. If so, there is some basic legal information you need to understand before contacting a lawyer. You’ll need to think about your circumstances and decide if they fit into certain categories established by the federal and state governments to protect you.
Unless you know the nature of the battle you’ll face in court, you don’t want to make a decision to leave your employer expecting to automatically win a lawsuit for constructive termination. You may very well have to leave, but you may not have grounds to sue.
Is It An Illegal Hostile Work Environment?
It may seem strange at first, but courts of law must distinguish between legal and illegal hostile work environments. The term has definite legal meanings for judges and juries. What it means to you is this – your work environment may be very hostile and intolerable, and it would be hostile and intolerable to any reasonable person, but that may not be enough to prevail in court. You need to prove that an employer is allowing or encouraging a hostile work environment as defined by federal and state laws.
Here are some questions to consider before leaving your employer with the expectation of winning a case of constructive termination:
- Can you prove that you are being harassed because of your age, race, national origin, religion or disability?
- Can you prove that you are being sexually assaulted by a superior, a supervisor or an owner?
- Can you prove that you are being discriminated against because you took family medical leave and now your job has changed in a way that hurts you?
- Can you prove age discrimination because younger employees are being hired, promoted or unfairly paid more than you?
- Can you prove that you are not being treated equally because of your disability?
- Can you prove that your employer is retaliating because you filed a whistleblower complaint?
Knowing the answers to these questions and many others is not a simple matter. Since the laws are complex, consulting an employment lawyer to consider your options before you quit your job may be a good investment in your future.
John J. Zidziunas & Associates can provide you with expert help in your New Jersey legal matters involving constructive termination. Contact them for a 30-minute consultation at no charge, by email or by calling 973-509-8500.
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