Can You File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit if You Quit Your Job?
A wrongful termination claim allows an employee to take legal action to get justice for an unlawful lay-off or firing. For example, a worker fired due to racial discrimination would have a right to pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit. You may be wondering: Can I still take legal action for wrongful termination if I am the one who quit my job? The short answer is “yes”—you may still have a constructive discharge claim. Here, our Monmouth County constructive discharge lawyer provides an overview of the key things workers need to know about their rights in New Jersey.
Constructive Discharge: Defined
Constructive discharge—sometimes also known as a constructive dismissal or a constructive termination—occurs when an employee resigns due to their employer making the working environment intolerable. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), defines constructive discharge as a discharge that “may be found not to be voluntary because the employer has created a hostile or intolerable work environment or has applied other forms of pressure or coercion.” The concept stems from the principle that an employee should not have to endure severe or pervasive working conditions that make continued employment unbearable.
What You Need to Prove in a Constructive Discharge Claim?
Constructive discharge claims are notoriously complex. In order to prevail in a constructive discharge claim in New Jersey, an employee needs to provide evidence to prove several different legal elements, including:
- Intolerable (Unlawful) Work Conditions: To start, the employee must demonstrate that the work environment was so adverse or intolerable that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would feel compelled to resign.
- Employer’s Knowledge (or that Employer Should Have Known): The claimant needs to prove that the employer knew, or should have known, about these intolerable conditions, but did not take necessary actions to correct them.
- The Duration of the Intolerable Conditions: It’s not enough for the work conditions to be intolerable; they must also be consistent or sustained over a period. An isolated incident or temporary hardship might not qualify.
- Voluntary Resignation: The employee must show that they quit their job because of these intolerable conditions. It’s crucial to establish a causal link between the unbearable work environment and the decision to resign.
- Reasonably Strong Temporal Connection: The employee should have resigned within a reasonable time after the intolerable conditions began. Delayed resignation could weaken the claim as it suggests the employee was willing to endure the circumstances.
Contact Our New Jersey Constructive Discharge Attorney Today
At Poulos LoPiccolo PC, our New Jersey employment law attorney has the skills and experience to take on all types of constructive discharge claims. If you or your loved one was effectively forced to quit due to unlawful conditions at your workplace, we are here to help. Contact us today to set up your confidential case review. With a law office located in Monmouth County, we handle constructive discharge claims and wrongful termination claims throughout New Jersey.