Roughly 48% of the currently identified unemployed actually quit their job. An unusually high number? No. That is within range the national norm for the past 5 years.
|More Common Than You Probably Thought|
Being Bullied at Work Does Not Necessarily Mean You Work in a Hostile Work Environment - If You Are an At-Will Employee, The Law Does Not Protect Employees From a Bully
One of the most common problems facing the average American employee is the presence of a bully in their midst. Federal, state and local Anti-Discrimination laws do not make prohibit mean-spirited, rude, obnoxious or even vicious mistreatment at work UNLESS the cause of the mistreatment is the bully's dislike of the employee because of his here age, sex, race, color, national origin, religious beliefs, sexual preference, gender identity or disability.
|Does Your Boss Scream at You And Call You Names?|
|Are You Being Treated Differently |
Because You Are Different?
NOTE: If you make a "general" complaint that you are being treated poorly, unfairly, etc., then you have not made a complaint of an illegal hostile work environment, and therefore would not have a an illegal retaliation complaint if the company's response was to terminate your employment.
However, if you complain to management that you believe you are being treated differently because you are a woman, a Hindu, etc., and are subjected to an adverse employment action in response, then you have a claim for an illegal hostile work environment and also for illegal workplace retaliation.
Retaliation in Response to Taking Family and Medical Leave or Seeking a Reasonable Accommodation for a Disability Pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act is Illegal
|You Are Entitled to FMLA Leave|
|You Are Entitled to |
a Reasonable Accommodation
Mere Proof of Cruel, Unfair or Immoral Treatment is Not Proof of an Illegal Hostile Work Environment
However, they key point is as follows: merely having a cruel, hostile boss, or a gang of insensitive, bullying co-workers is not enough to prove a hostile work environment. This is the foundation of the employment at will doctrine.
NOTE: If you have to quit your job because of severe mistreatment by management and/or co-workers, you may be entitled to unemployment benefits even if you were not subjected to an illegal hostile work environment.
You Have a Constructive Discharge Claim Only if You Were Subjected to an Illegal Hostile Work Environment
Understanding these principles is important, because a claim of constructive discharge only lies where an illegally hostile work environment left the employee with no choice but to resign.
Truly Illegal Hostile Work Environment Claims Are Relatively Rare
I would say that of the roughly 6 Million people who are currently unemployed due to quitting their jobs, a very small percentage could actually make out a claim of constructive discharge. While a much larger percentage quit because they found their job intolerable due to the (mis)behavior of their bosses and/or colleagues, the law does not require civility in the workplace.
If You Quit Your Job Because of One of These Scenarios, You May Have a Constructive Discharge Case
In summary, and generally, if you quit your job for any of the following reasons, you may well have a claim for constructive discharge:
1) You were the victim of sexual harassment by your supervisor or boss;
2) You were the victim of sexual harassment by a co-worker and complained to management, but it failed to take steps to fix the problem, which then continued;
3) You were treated badly at work, and it was made clear that the mistreatment had come about because you were disliked because of your age, sex, race, national origin, religious beliefs, or disability;
4) You made a reasonable complaint to the company (or to an agency such as EEOC) that you believed you were being treated badly because of your age, sex, race, etc., management responded ineffectively and the environment became even more hostile. This is known as a unlawful retaliation claim.
5) You took leave under FMLA, sought overtime to which you believed you were entitled, sought a reasonable accommodation under ADA or filed a workers' compensation claim -- and thereafter were retaliated against by your employer via mistreatment, change of duties, etc.
6) You made a whistleblower complaint, and were thereafter subjected to a hostile work atmosphere.
Generally, unless you have one of these scenarios, you likely do not have a claim for a hostile work environment, and therefore do not have a claim of constructive discharge.
Click Here to read about what effect a voluntary quit may have upon your claim for unemployment benefits, and maybe check out our Video on that topic:
Philadelphia Are Employment Attorney Representing Employees
John A. Gallagher is an employment lawyer who represents employees in Pennsylvania.
John typically represents employees who need an employment lawyer in Philadelphia County, Chester County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Berks County, Lancaster County and Montgomery County.
|Representing Pennsylvania's Workforce Since 1991|
Pennsylvania Employment Attorney Provides Free Telephone Consultations
If you are looking for an employment lawyer, and live in Malvern, Wayne, King of Prussia, Downingtown, Glenside, Doylestown, Radnor, Newtown Square, Exton, Philadelphia, West Chester, Skippack, Langhorne, Haverford, Nether Providence, Broomall, Drexel Hill, Reading or any of their surrounding towns, feel free to send me an e-mail or give me a call. I am always glad to spend some time with people via a free telephone consultation.
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Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of employment law, from wrongful termination, to wage and overtime claims, to discrimination and retaliation laws, to Family and Medical Leave…
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