What is my legal recourse if I was forced to resigndue to constructive wrongful termination?

UPDATED: Sep 16, 2011

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What is my legal recourse if I was forced to resigndue to constructive wrongful termination?

I resigned from the company I had worked for over the past 14 years due to my manager who created an incredibly hostile working environment (was intimidating and harassed her employees continually). 4 of her 6 employees have left for other jobs in the past 1 1/2 years due to this behavior. We had each sought assistance multiple times through all of the proper internal channels, per company process, to no avail. Her behavior extended beyond her own work group, into supporting organizations. The situation got so bad that I took a 3 month stress leave, for which I was denied short term disability benefits. I have never done this before in my 30 years in the workforce. I attempted to find another job within the company, one of the world’s large aerospace manufacturing corporations, for over a year with no success. I feel I was essentially left with no alternative but to resign in order to save myself physically and emotionally. Do I have any legal recourse?

Asked on September 16, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  You should seek consultation from an employment attorney in your state.  Ask first about the effect of filing for unemployment on a case that you may potentially bring, if the facts allow for a law suit against your employer.  Although quitting a job does not generally allow you to collect unemployment, being forced out carves an exception to the rule in most states. Now, depending on your state law, the creation of a hostile work environment can be a form of employee discrimination and can give rise to a lawsuit based upon that cause of action.  It could also be deemed a form of harassment (kind of the same general thing).  Did you complain to management about your manager and his actions?  Were complaints ignored?  Misery loves company here and there is strength in numbers.  This can help show a pattern of action by the manager.  Good luck.

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