Is it ethical to wear an employee down in order to make him or her quit their job?

Posted 01-08-2014

Ann Kiernan replies:

Of course not! But whether it is legal is another matter.

Under the doctrine of constructive discharge, an employee who quits because working conditions are so intolerable that a reasonable employee would feel forced to resign may have a claim for wrongful termination. However, under the law of your state, Texas, such a resignation is generally considered to be voluntary, so you would not be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Constructive discharge is a very difficult claim to succeed on, especially in Texas, so I urge you to raise your concerns to your company’s Human Resources department. If that does not help, please consult a local employment lawyer before you decide you have to resign. Good luck.

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Ann Kiernan has litigated claims of wrongful discharge and discrimination before state and federal courts and administrative matters before the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, representing both employers and employees. Ms. Kiernan co-hosted The Employee Rights Forum, a weekly radio call-in show reaching up to a half-million listeners in the New York metropolitan area, and her articles on employment law have been published in many books and magazines. Both as a firm partner and as a director, Ms. Kiernan gained solid experience in management and human resources compliance. She has worked with Fair Measures since 1997.