Constructive discharge may be retaliation

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2019 | retaliation | 0 comments

An employer cannot retaliate against an employee in Texas if the employee files a discrimination claim. However, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, if the employee voluntarily leaves the company, it indicates that he or she has control over the separation and not the employer. In that case, the employee would not be able to claim retaliation, and would not be eligible for unemployment compensation.

But what if the employer is making the work situation so bad for the employee that he or she feels quitting is the only escape? Unfortunately, it would not make the employee eligible for unemployment compensation. But, the TWC explains that this may indicate constructive discharge, and it may still be considered an adverse employment action in his or her discrimination claim.

The employee has to be able to prove that his or her working conditions became so unbearable that any reasonable person would feel forced to quit. To establish that quitting is reasonable, the employee should be able to offer relevant factors such as the following occurred:

  • Demotion or reduction in job responsibilities
  • Reassignment to degrading or menial job duties
  • Reduction of salary
  • Humiliation, harassment or badgering from the employer
  • Early retirement offer that would leave the employee in a worse situation if accepted

If the employee filed a constructive discharge claim based on these activities and behaviors, a judge would likely consider the condition to be a hostile work environment, or agree that the employer’s intention was to create intolerable working conditions to force the employee to resign. Therefore, they would likely be considered aggravating factors that would support a claim of constructive discharge.