You need your job. Your family depends on your income, and you have plans for your future that require funding. Nevertheless, you may be like many in Oregon and elsewhere whose job is not what you expected it would be. Perhaps the work itself is rewarding, but the people you work with make it nearly intolerable to get out of bed some days.
If you wake up some mornings and feel like you would be better off if you just quit your job, you are not alone. Probably everyone has days like that. However, if you are ready to resign from your position because of constant hostility in the workplace, you may be facing a different kind of termination.
Your options after resigning under duress
You may be a victim of constructive discharge. This situation involves a workplace environment that is so unbearable that you feel like you have no choice but to resign for your own peace of mind, or even for your physical safety. An employer may intentionally create such an environment to avoid firing you, or the situation may simply be a product of very poor management. In either case, these important facts about constructive discharge may help you decide your next step:
- Examples of conditions that may lead to constructive discharge include constant harassment, discrimination, a demotion or any action your employer may take to force you to quit.
- The unbearable situation may be one incident or many over a prolonged period.
- If you choose to resign, the burden of proof is on you, so careful documentation of your employer's actions is helpful.
Since resigning from a job disqualifies you from unemployment benefits, you may face a struggle after leaving your place of employment. However, if the court determines your employer constructively discharged you, it is the same as a termination under the law, which means you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. In fact, you may have a case for wrongful termination, depending on the circumstances.
If you feel you are a victim of constructive discharge, you should contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as quickly as possible to file your complaint. You may also wish to speak with a skilled attorney who can help you build a solid case that will give you every advantage toward meeting your goal.