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What factors do courts look at in a constructive dismissal case?

"Constructive dismissal" happens when an employer creates a work environment that is so intolerable that it forces the employee to quit. This may happen when an employer wants to fire an employee but doesn't have a legally valid reason to do so. For example, the employer wants to terminate a worker because they are a member of a specific race but wants to avoid an accusation of discrimination or wrongful termination.

Constructive dismissal is a form of wrongful termination, and victims of this unlawful treatment may be able to pursue restitution in court. When deciding a constructive dismissal case, here's what the courts will focus on:

  • Did the employer request or require the employee to commit or contribute to illegal activity?
  • Did the employer investigate or acknowledge the complaints of the employee?
  • What are the specifics of the employer's conduct that resulted in the unreasonable working conditions?
  • How much time passed from the date of the unreasonable working conditions until the date that the employee resigned from his or her job?

Another thing that courts will consider is the severity of the working conditions. The employee's subjective opinion that the conditions were "intolerable" will not be enough to satisfy the court. The employee must show that a reasonable person in a similar position would also find the job so intolerable that they would quit.

No employment law case is perfectly "cut and dry." If you believe you have suffered unlawful treatment in your job, it's important to investigate the best way to assert your legal rights. An experienced attorney can help you.

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