Constructive Discharge

The Pursley Law Firm has a Constructive Discharge Lawyer that will review the details of your case if you have suffered because of an employer and determine if you have a claim against them. They have the experience to pursue claims of constructive discharge from employment for employees all over Texas; specifically in the cities of Dallas, Houston, Austin, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and El Paso, but other cities as well. Constructive Discharge from your employer is often an emotionally charged event; so a Constructive Discharge Employment lawyer at the Pursley Law Firm is ready to discuss your case with you and be the advocate that you need.

To establish wrongful discharge, a former employee must prove he or she was "discharged." The discharge requirement easily is satisfied when an employee is fired (i.e., suffers an "actual discharge"). If, however, an employee resigns due to intolerable working conditions, the resignation may be considered the functional equivalent of a firing and constructive discharge serves as a legal substitute for the discharge element of a case in discriminatory and retaliatory discharge cases. Constructive discharge involves comparing the situation with how a reasonable person would have acted in the same or similar circumstances. For example, if a reasonable person would have resigned in the same or similar situation as the employee because an employer made conditions so intolerable, then the employee is considered to have been discharged. The constructive discharge doctrine prevents an employer from doing indirectly what it is prohibited from doing directly by protecting employees who are not fired, but are forced to resign.

In order to prove objectively intolerable working conditions sufficient to support a constructive discharge claim, the plaintiff must prove both an unlawful predicate act (e.g.,discrimination or retaliation in violation of Title VII or the TCHRA) and aggravating circumstances. Finding proof of discrimination alone is not a sufficient predicate to support a constructive discharge claim; it also requires a plaintiff to prove aggravating circumstances. If the plaintiff fails to prove the unlawful underlying act, then the constructive discharge claim will also fail. Basically, a constructive discharge claim can be rejected because there was no discrimination proven.

A common allegation relied upon to establish aggravating circumstances is that the employer created or allowed the creation of an "atmosphere of harassment" or hostility that rendered working conditions intolerable. An example of a case would be: finding evidence of constructive discharge where, after plaintiff complained about sexual harassment, her superiors gave her excessive work, refused to talk to her, and generally created an uncomfortable and, eventually, intolerable working atmosphere. To prove an atmosphere of harassment, the plaintiff must show a level of harassment of "greater severity or pervasiveness" than the minimum required to prove a hostile working environment. How other employees react to the alleged atmosphere of harassment is relevant to this inquiry. For example, a court can deny the plaintiff's claims of First Amendment retaliation premised on a constructive discharge theory in part because other employees, who had suffered a much greater degree of harassment and retaliation and still remained employed. There can be difficulty in proving the "greater level of harassment" necessary to establish constructive discharge, even when the harassment or discrimination claim is found valid.

It is imperative that an employee pursue all administrative remedies with the employer before the resignation. It is unlikely that a court would find for constructive discharge if an employee resigned before an employer was given a chance to investigate and remedy the situation if needed. Constructive discharge can apply in discrimination, sexual harassment, or a Sabine Pilot case. If you believe you have a valid claim of constructive discharge, then you should seek the assistance of an experienced employment attorney to help you recover damages.

Do I Have A Constructive Discharge Case in Texas?

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