What Is Constructive Dismissal?

employee packing desk

Say, for instance, that you believe that you willingly quit your job. But after further reflection, you conclude that your employer made your work conditions so difficult to the point that it became almost impossible to stay any longer. This is where a constructive dismissal claim may come into play. Read on to discover more about constructive dismissal and how a seasoned New York employee rights lawyer at Bell Law Group can walk you through your case proceedings.

By definition, what is constructive dismissal?

In New York, constructive dismissal is considered when an employee experiences intimidation or harassment at work that is so severe that they decide to resign voluntarily. The state considers it illegal if it is later discovered that an employer deliberately intended such hostile working conditions so that an employee had no reasonable alternative but to leave. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • An employee is discriminated against after disclosing their disability, sexual orientation, or pregnancy.
  • An employee is retaliated against for refusing to carry out illegal activity and later reporting it (i.e., acting as a whistleblower).
  • An employee is retaliated against after applying for workers’ compensation benefits.
  • An employee is retaliated against after applying for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

And even though an employee willingly quit, this is still considered a type of wrongful termination. Meaning, if this situation is relevant to you, then you may be able to take legal action against your employer.

What defenses do I need to take for my claim?

Simply quitting your job is not enough evidence for your constructive dismissal claim. Rather, you carry a significant burden of proof, and you will need a sufficient amount of evidence that points to any or all of the following statements as true:

  • Your working conditions were unusually hostile, so much so that a reasonable employee in your same position would have considered quitting.
  • There was a continuing pattern of hostility toward you, or there was a single act of violence against you.
  • Your employer knew or should have reasonably known about these hostile working conditions but failed to rectify them.
  • Your employer was the responsible party for creating these hostile working conditions.

With that in mind, say that you had an at-will employment relationship with your employer. Meaning, your employer could have terminated you at any time with or without cause. This may further complicate your satisfying of your burden of proof. So, what’s helpful is if you provide evidence that improper, unlawful conduct was made, or even that a breach of an employment contract was made.

All in all, your case proceedings will become easier with sound legal advisement from a competent New York employee rights lawyer. Contact our firm as soon as you possibly can.

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