Constructive Discharge in a Sexual Harassment Case

You quit your job because you couldn’t take the sexual harassment and abuse anymore. Can you still file a lawsuit against your employer? If your work conditions were so horrific and you can prove you were the victim of a “constructive discharge,” you may still be entitled to collect compensation from a court of law.

Constructive discharge is an exception to the Employment-at-Will Doctrine. It occurs when an employee is forced to resign because the employer is making working conditions intolerable and hostile. In some instances, it happens because an employee has complained of sexual harassment. Instead of addressing the complaint, the employer makes the working conditions so miserable, the employee feels forced to quit.

One scenario is the employer makes a drastic change that is unbearable, for no justifiable reason, compelling any “reasonable person” to resign. The employee’s resignation must have occurred close to the time was the change occurred, establishing a clear cause and effect relationship between the two events. You do not need to show the employer’s intention was to force you to quit. This example would be a case of constructive discharge.

If you were the victim of petty jokes, unfair slights, mild bullying or other minor infraction, it probably won’t constitute a hostile work environment. If you quit because you did not like the general atmosphere of the workplace, or were offended one-time, you most likely won’t have a case for constructive discharge.

When employers don’t take sexual harassment complaints seriously and purposely make your work environment hostile, contact an NYC lawyer to help you fight back.

The Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC handles a multitude of cases that involve sexual harassment in New York City. For further information, please feel free to call us at 212-587-0760 or toll-free at 1-877-4NYLAWS or email at dtslaws@msn.com.

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