Armstrong & Associates Employment Law Firm

What to know about constructive discharges

If a person quits or resigns his or her position because of a hostile working environment, it is known as a constructive discharge. Hostile working environments can be caused by rampant sexual harassment or other abuse that makes it difficult for an individual to perform his or her duties. In some cases, managers for firms in Texas and elsewhere may intentionally create a hostile working environment in an effort to get an employee to leave.

If it is ruled that a constructive discharge has occurred, a worker may be entitled to unemployment and other benefits. This is because he or she will not have voluntarily left his or her job. In addition to filing for unemployment benefits, a person may be able to take legal action against his or her employer for wrongful termination. Those who are denied benefits after a constructive discharge are encouraged to appeal their cases to their state’s unemployment agency.

An employer may also choose to appeal a decision to allow a former worker to obtain unemployment benefits. Private sector employees have 180 days from the date that they resign to make a constructive discharge complaint. That time limit may be extended to 300 days if their state has laws against discriminatory behavior in the workplace. Federal employees typically have 45 days to file a constructive discharge complaint against a government agency.

Individuals who believe that they have been wrongfully terminated may be able to initiate legal action against their employers. It may be possible to obtain back pay, the value of benefits lost or other compensation in a settlement or from a jury. An attorney who specializes in employment law may review a person’s case and represent that individual during informal settlement talks or a formal trial.


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