Some workplaces are very hostile and toxic to be in. Employees may not feel safe or accepted in these locations, which can lead to a lot of uncertain thoughts and questions about quitting. In the most severe cases, the individual will be subjected to harassment, cruelty, targeting, discrimination, assault, and more. Many people urge the workers to quit – and some do just that. Fortunately, there is the option for these individuals to pursue legal action if they were forced to quit because of their hostile work environments. This is called constructive discharge, and it essentially changes the resignation into a termination, in legal terms. The employee must have had no other option other than to quit or was driven to that action because of the workplace. The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group can help you with setting up and executing your constructive discharge lawsuit against your lawsuit.
What is a hostile work environment?
A hostile work environment is one in which the workers feel threatened or unsafe in some way. The work environment must present a danger or must take a heavy toll on the emotions or physicality of the worker. Some examples of hostile workplace environments include:
- Jobs in which workers are routinely discriminated against, demoted, fired, given low wages, offered bad hours, or otherwise are mistreated due to sex, gender, race, religion, color, medical status, and more
- Dangerous workplaces in which many safety violations were committed on a daily basis, workers were not given proper safety gear, workers were not properly trained, or hazardous or toxic chemicals and materials were not disposed of safely
- Job locations and managers who harass workers for reporting safety violations, retaliation, illegal business practices, immoral actions, and more
- Workplaces in which individual have been sexually assaulted, physically assaulted, robbed, beaten, or otherwise hurt, and the safety of the workers is not prioritized or addressed (for example, there are no security guards hired to protect workers or there are no investigations done if a coworker assaults another)
- Workplaces that rejected your request for medical leave or caretaking leave, thus resulting in a loss of your job, insurance benefits, health coverage, and more, or that resulted in your health deteriorating over time
Many workers simply suffer through a hostile workplace environment without quitting. This is not something that should happen – the workplace should change to accommodate employees and problematic or toxic managers or other individuals at the company should be outed or removed. At times, the harassment and hostility is too much, which can lead to workers quitting.
What is constructive discharge?
Constructive discharge is the action of quitting due to a hostile workplace environment. in the eyes of the law, the individual had no other option other than to quit and was driven to that point by the employer. Therefore, it is tantamount to being fired. They are thus treated as wrongful termination claims; during the period of unemployment, the worker can pursue unemployment benefits, which would not be available otherwise. Unsafe working conditions that increase the possibility and risk of serious injury or death can also be reason to leave a job, especially when the boss demands that the workers continue despite the conditions.
To prove constructive discharge, you must be able to show that any reasonable employee who would have wanted to continue working would have felt the need to quit or resign. The employee must also have given the company the opportunity to fix the issue. That is, if a dangerous condition arose and the worker did not let the boss know that it was problematic and instead quit on the spot, he would not be able to pursue a constructive discharge claim. Harassment claims are similar – if there is no record or reports of the harassment on file, such as a meeting with the manager or with Human Resources, there will be no ability to pursue a constructive discharge case.
Be aware that you cannot file a constructive discharge case in and of itself; it must be accompanied by some other claim. The other claim can be retaliation, harassment, discrimination, and more.
How can I file a constructive discharge lawsuit against my employer?
If you wish to file a constructive discharge claim in addition to your other employment lawsuit, you must gather necessary evidence. Without ample proof of the mistreatment, your claim will essentially go nowhere. It is important that you get evidence as quickly as possible and from as many sources as you can. If you are constantly subjected to harassment and dangerous situations, it becomes more difficult to get proof from certain individuals.
First, you should report the issue to HR. you can write an email and make a copy, send a message, or communicate in any other way, but be sure that you have proof that you filed a complaint. Be aware, though, that HR is generally at a company to protect the company, not the employees. If there is harassment occurring from a supervisor or boss, the HR representative may not do anything to address it, and will instead seek ways to silence you or get rid of you from the company.
You should keep a journal detailing all of the harassment or violations that you can. These entries should include dates, names, details, individuals involved, and more. It will be beneficial to have a long list of grievances.
If you can acquire physical proof, like written documents, emails, audio recordings, videos, pictures, and more, you should do so. There may be various forms of harassment caught on video or security cameras, but acquiring surveillance footage is not easy. The company may outright deny you the footage or may destroy it so that it cannot incriminate them.
You should ask coworkers for their statements and testimonies to add to your case. They can testify that you were subjected to harassment or other mistreatment, and they can back up anything you say about safety violations. However, these statements are not easy to get – the workers may fear retaliation or some other kind of comeuppance by the company. They could be fired, harassed, or otherwise targeted and harmed if they go against the company. They may not want to risk their livelihood, either.
Once you have sufficient proof, you can submit a claim to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a Federal agency, or the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), a California agency. Either agency will look over your case and determine if you can move forward with a lawsuit. They will then issue you a right to sue letter.
You will benefit greatly from having an attorney represent your case. If you have never taken legal action before against another party or if you do not know anything about employment law, you will be at a severe disadvantage. Our team of attorneys knows the law inside and out and we will be able to work around the clock to negotiate a fair deal and prove that your employer violated the law. You can focus on searching for other job opportunities or earning income in another way.
What is the deadline to file a constructive discharge lawsuit?
The statute of limitations for constructive discharge lawsuits will depend on the underlying claim. For example, contract violations or a violation of public policy lawsuit must be filed within 2 years, while FEHA and whistleblower violations must be filed within 3 years. In either case, it is important that you speak with a lawyer to determine how long you have to sue and what you should do to move forward.
Often, individual do not know how long they have left on their cases, and they end up missing the statute of limitations entirely. They are then unable to receive any compensation at all.
What is the value of a constructive discharge claim?
The value of a constructive discharge lawsuit will greatly depend on factors in the case itself, such as the amount of income you lost due to quitting. We will make sure that you are given the following forms of compensation:
- Reimbursement of lost income from the past and future
- Reimbursement of insurance benefits, tips, commissions, health insurance coverage, and more
- Reinstatement of your old position if you want to take it
- Pain and suffering damages and emotional distress
- Punitive damages if the employer were deliberately trying to harm you or grossly negligent in some way
Choosing Our Firm
The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is one of the most highly respected employment firms in Los Angeles. We have years of experience handling such claims and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients throughout the years. We know the best methods for success and will stop at nothing to win you the maximum settlement we can under the law. Our lawyers are relentless in their pursuit of your rightful damages.
Call us today for a free legal consultation on your claim. All consultations are private; none of your case information or personal details will be shared elsewhere. We will tell you what we think the value of your case is and answer any questions you have about the legal process. We will also give you our zero fee guarantee on your claim if you hire us to represent you. This means that you won’t have to spend any money on your case from start to finish. We will cover all the costs of the case ourselves, and if we win, our payment comes from the settlement we bring you. If we lose, we do not charge you for anything. Your finances are never touched throughout the case.
To sue your employment for constructive discharge, get in touch with the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group.