Constructive Discharge

In Illinois a constructive discharge occurs when an employee is forced to resign because the employer is making working conditions intolerable and hostile.  Many times the hostile work environment will be the result of a complaint of discrimination that the employee files with the company--especially sexual harassment.  Instead of taking the complaint on face value and investigating, the company will do things to make the employees life so miserable that the employee quits.  The standard utilized by investigative agencies when determining whether or not there was a constructive discharge is the reasonable person standard.  Another words, would a reasonable person in similar circumstances act this way and quit their job. 

It is very important for an employee to keep a journal or log of events that are taking place and try to document these events.  Companies will take many small negative steps toward an employee in the hopes the employee quits employment.   Another reason for an employee to become constructively discharged is if an employee reports sexual harassment or another form of discrimination and the employer fails to act on the report and continues to allow the employee to be subjected to the sexual harassment.  This allows the horrible working conditions to continue and thus affects the employee in a negative way.

It is very important for you to file a claim with the Illinois Department of Employment Security ("IDES") the same day or as soon thereafter as the day you leave your job.  Just because you quit your job it does not mean you can't collect unemployment.  The IDES will make that determination after learning all the facts in the case.  I can help you understand your rights and file with the appropriate agency to maximize what money you may be able to acquire from your former employer.  Additionally, by filing for unemployment, you are mitigating your damages and the company can't later claim that you didn't try to mitigate your damages.  This helps increase the amount of money you can ask for as part of your damages.  This also helps keep money coming in to pay the bills while your case is proceeding.

With the down economy many companies are trying to get rid of employees they deem troublemakers or non-team players.  Many times these are just code words for people who won't put up with sexual harassment or other types of discrimination in the workplace.  If you are being singled out and feel like the company is trying to make you quit and you believe it is because you are standing up for your rights, contact my office.

Most times constructive discharge claims are filed in conjunction with other claims of discrimination.  It takes an experienced employment trial attorney to navigate the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") and make sure your claim is maximized.  I am at the IDHR in Chicago every week and work well with most of the investigators.   There is a real advantage to having an attorney that is at the IDHR often.  I know what questions the investigators are going to ask and I know what evidence they need.  This information will help ensure your case gets the maximum value.  This is just one of the many tips I can give you regarding your constructive discharge claim.

My office can handle constructive discharge cases in Illinois.  Call me at 312-505-5038 to discuss your case.  There is never a charge to discuss your case on the phone and there is no charge unless you recover.

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