Constructive discharge is a specific type of wrongful termination claim in Texas. It occurs when an employer does not directly fire an employee, but instead makes the working conditions so intolerable that the person is forced to quit. These claims are very challenging to prove, and you should consult with an experienced employment law attorney right away (and before quitting) if you believe you have a constructive discharge claim against your current or former employer.
What Constitutes Constructive Dismissal in Texas?
Under Texas law, constructive discharge occurs when working conditions become so abhorrent that a reasonable person in the employee’s situation would have felt compelled to resign his job. Courts use an objective standard in determining what an ordinary person would do. Constructive discharge does not arise from every bad working condition, such as verbal abuse, never being given a raise, or being denied a promotion.
Constructive discharge only protects an employee if the discrimination is based on an employee’s status in a protected class or the employee’s having engaged in a protected activity. Examples include:
● Age discrimination
● Discrimination based on race or national origin
● Sexual harassment
● Disability discrimination
● Retaliation for filing a worker’s compensation claim, complaining about discrimination, wage and hour law violations, or safety hazards
Factors That May Establish a Constructive Discharge Claim
The courts look at many factors to determine whether a worker has established a claim of constructive dismissal. Some of the facts include:
● Past or future demotion
● Reduction in pay
● Reduction in the person’s job duties or a large increase in responsibilities that would have resulted in unpaid overtime
● Assignment to a different supervisor
● Verbal abuse or discrimination by the employer or co-worker with the goal of termination of the victim
● Request that the victim engage in illegal activities
● Change in employment to a less favorable status
● Offer of early retirement
● Depth of the investigation of any complaint by the employee
● Time between the employer’s actions and the employee’s resignation
While it can be very difficult to prove a constructive discharge claim, and one of these factors standing alone is not likely to be sufficient, constructive discharge claims can be successful, which is why you need the assistance of an experienced employment law attorney.
To discuss your situation and your possible legal claims of wrongful termination against your employer in the Dallas/Fort Worth or Mid-Cities area, please contact us online or call our office directly at 817.380.4888 today to schedule your free consultation.