Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Constructive Discharge Definition:

When an employer, rather than acting directly, deliberately makes an employee's working conditions so intolerable that the employee is forced into resignation.

Related Terms: Constructive Dismissal

Synonymous with constructive dismissal; a variation of the same concept simply preferred by some jurisdictions.

For example, and as concerning the law in this regards, consider these words of Justice Pigott in Morris v Schroder Capital:

"In some circumstances, an employee's decision to resign from his job may not be a free and voluntary choice. Federal courts created the constructive discharge test in the context of employment discrimination cases for determining whether the employee's resignation was voluntary.

"Constructive discharge occurs when the employer, rather than acting directly, deliberately makes an employee's working conditions so intolerable that the employee is forced into an involuntary resignation.

"In order to meet this threshold, the trier of fact must be satisfied that the working conditions were so difficult or unpleasant that a reasonable person in the employee's shoes would have felt compelled to resign. Under the constructive discharge test, the actions of the employer in creating the intolerable workplace condition must be deliberate and intentional, and the atmosphere in the workplace must be so intolerable as to compel a reasonable person to leave.... The constructive discharge test is not met if the employee is simply dissatisfied with a change in his job assignments."

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