Maybe you felt unwelcome from your first day on the job, or you may have had an experience that altered the tone of the work environment. Perhaps you reported to authorities some unlawful or unethical activity in the workplace, or you applied for workers’ compensation following an injury. Whatever the reason, you feel as if your Florida employer is making it impossible for you to remain on the job.
In fact, you are ready to quit, and you might walk out today except that you need the job, and you also feel like the whole situation is unfair. You may be the victim of constructive discharge, and this is a form of wrongful termination. If you learn more about this mistreatment and believe it applies to you, you would be wise to take action as soon as possible, since you may be working against a narrow statute of limitations.
What can you do about it?
If your boss does not seem to be making any moves to fire you, but you feel like you are on your way out, he or she may be using constructive discharge to get rid of you. Constructive discharge is any action an employer takes to force a worker to quit. To prove that your resignation was constructive discharge, though, you will have to demonstrate the following:
- That your employer mistreated you in a manner different from the way he or she treated other employees
- That you can describe specific examples of the abuse, discrimination or unfair treatment you received
- That you have documentation of your attempts to bring these actions to the attention of your employer, human resources or others, but were unable to resolve the issue
- That the work environment was so hostile that a reasonable employee would not have been able to tolerate it
An employer may use constructive discharge as a form of a retaliation or simply because he or she does not want to go through the hassle of terminating the worker. The problem with constructive discharge is that, by quitting the job, you do not qualify for unemployment benefits. You also forfeit the right to sue your employer for wrongful termination if you voluntarily leave your job.
If you are successful in claiming constructive discharge in court, you will have proven that your departure was not actually voluntary and was a form of termination. Therefore, you will retain your rights and perhaps win other damages. However, before you decide to walk out of your job, it is best to seek legal advice about your options.