Deciding to pursue a former employer in a lawsuit for constructive termination is the beginning of a legal journey that will require a knowledgeable guide. There are a variety of possible outcomes, and an experienced employment lawyer can help you understand them all in advance.
Basically, constructive termination cases are somewhat difficult to prove in court. It is not only your experience working for your employer that matters, the unique circumstances in your workplace, but legal standards defining what any reasonable person would do in those same circumstances. NJ courts are looking at the big picture, and identifying specific factors that may be legal or illegal. Only illegal constructive termination or dismissal cases will prevail in a lawsuit.
Illegal constructive termination depends on the particular reasons you were effectively forced to quit your job. Meaning, you may not have had any choice but to leave your job, but the intolerable situation may not meet the legal standards required to win your case. Strange as it may seem, some incidences of constructive termination are actual, but they are not illegal.
What Is Required to Prove Illegal Constructive Termination?
New Jersey courts are looking for conditions in the workplace that would compel any reasonable person to quit. The list of specific factors includes these behaviors on the part of your employer:
– You were threatened with termination or encouraged to resign or retire;
– You were demoted to a position with less authority, lower pay or fewer benefits;
– You were assigned to a less desirable position with different responsibilities;
– You were given an unsatisfactory job evaluation.
And the courts are looking for reasons that break federal or state laws against discrimination on the basis of your race, gender, age, race, religion, disability or other protected categories under the law. Another reason would be retaliation for your actions that were legally protected, such your choice to make public or to report your employer’s illegal activities, unsafe working conditions, or deceptive business practices. There are federal and state laws protecting whistleblowers, and employers are not allowed to retaliate against you.
How you structure a lawsuit for constructive termination can make all the difference in your outcome. Experienced employment lawyers understand this reality, and they know how to identify the harm you’ve suffered, the behavior which caused you to quit. They also know the reasons required to prove illegal constructive dismissal in the eyes of the law.
Assuming your case meets the requirements to prove illegal constructive dismissal, what can you expect as a possible result if you win?
Although you can demand to be reinstated in your former job, normally that’s not the desired outcome after a battle in court between an employer and its former employee. So, you should consider that you may be entitled to collect back pay, with benefits, and also obtain money damages and collect legal expenses. Establishing a timely cause and effect relationship between the harm you suffered in your former workplace and the illegal results of that harm can bring you a victory in NJ courts.
Attorney John J. Zidziunas & Associates will provide you with expert help in your New Jersey employment law matters, advising you on constructive termination and representing you in court. Contact us for a 30 minute consultation at no charge, by email or by calling 973-509-8500.