What is Constructive Discharge?
"Constructive discharge" is the legal recognition that sometimes an employer makes the working conditions so intolerable that your resignation should be treated the same as a termination.
There are three basic elements to a constructive discharge claim.
First, the working conditions must be so bad that a reasonable employee in his or her position would have felt compelled to resign.
Second, your employer either intended to force such resignation or had actual knowledge of the intolerable working conditions.
Third, the reason for the intolerable conditions must itself be unlawful- discrimination, retaliation or sexual harassment, for example. There are plenty of examples where the behavior is wrong and inappropriate (i.e., workplace bullying) but not illegal.
If you are thinking about quitting due to the workplace environment, and want to preserve your rights to bring legal claims against the employer, it is a good idea to consult with an employment lawyer before making that decision to find out of constructive discharge is a theory that will be available to you.
Learn more here about constructive discharge in Massachusetts.
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