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Proving constructive dismissal

In some cases, continuing to work for an employer is simply not a safe or tenable option. This may be because of working conditions or an intolerable work environment. When employees leave the company on their own accord because they have no other reasonable recourse, this may constitute constructive dismissal. In many cases, constructive dismissal can support legal action similar to a traditional wrongful termination.

So, how do you know when you might have a constructive dismissal case? In broad strokes, constructive dismissal occurs when an employee leaves a position because of an employer's conduct. In the eyes of the law, if the conduct is documented, ongoing, and enough of a violation of rights, the employee is essentially involuntarily terminated by the employer's conduct. However, this is usually means meeting a fairly high standard of violation and proof of the violation.

Another component of most constructive dismissal cases is notifying an employer of the violating conduct. If the employer is never notified of the problem before an employee leaves his or her position, it will be very difficult to prove constructive dismissal occurred. In part, this is because constructive dismissal relies on the intention of the employer, and if the employer is never informed of the violation, then it is difficult to prove that they intentionally created untenable working conditions.

If you believe that you suffer from conditions that constitute constructive dismissal, or if you recently left an employer because of unacceptable work conditions, you need to examine your circumstances with the guidance of an experienced attorney. With proper legal counsel, you can ensure that your rights as a worker remain respected, while standing up for justice in the workplace.

Source: FindLaw, "Constructive Dismissal and Wrongful Termination," accessed May 12, 2017

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