Constructive Discharge

What is the purpose or intent of the Constructive Discharge Statute (Arizona) if successfully proven your employer was in violation of the statute but you cannot seek any recourse from this violation. Unless you can prove the employer actions violated the popular and classic situations as well(race, religion, etc)?

1 answer  |  asked Oct 6, 2008 11:30 PM [EST]  |  applies to Arizona

Answers (1)

Francis Fanning
Constructive Discharge isn't necessarily wrongful

There are a number of reasons why a termination of employment is legally actionable. These include retaliation for whistleblowing, retaliation for filing a worker compensation claim, retaliation for refusing to commit an unlawful act and certain other reasons for termination that violate public policy. Arizona's constructive discharge statute is a codification of a common law concept by which courts treat a resignation the same as a termination. The statute was the product of a suggestion by lobbyists for the Chamber of Commerce who were concerned about employees who resigned from employment and then filed wrongful discharge lawsuits for various reasons. In some cases employers were unaware that a problem existed until the suit brought it to their attention. The statute requires an employer who wants the protection of the statute to post a notice informing employees of its provisions. If an employer complies, an employee who believes he or she is being constructively discharged must give written notice of the problem to the employer and give the employer an opportunity to correct it. This requirement is not part of the common law, so the statute provides a degree of protection to employers from surprise lawsuits. Many employers prefer not to post the required notice however, believing that it merely invites employees to claim constructive discharge when they are disgruntled about various working conditions. The definition of constructive discharge in the statute is a bit broader than the common law definition, so the statute provides a little bit of additional protection to employees. But if an actual discharge would not be wrongful, a constructive discharge does not make it wrongful, at least not in my opinion. I know one attorney who believes that the constructive discharge statute itself creates a form of wrongful discharge claim. Perhaps one day the courts will have to decide the question and we will get a definitive interpretation of the full meaning and intent of the statute.

posted by Francis Fanning  |  Oct 7, 2008 8:32 PM [EST]

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