Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Extremely Difficult Conditions Not Sufficiently Intolerable To Prove A Constructive Discharge Says Fourth Circuit

An employee who is not actually discharged may be entitled to relief if he can prove his employer intentionally made the working conditions intolerable in an effort to cause him to resign.

In Alba v. Merrill Lynch, the plaintiff proved his employer:

  • unfairly criticized his work;
  • fired his son;
  • threatened to take away certain retirement benefits;
  • told his colleagues that he was being terminated; and
  • disconnected his access to the company's computer system.

The Fourth Circuit held as a matter of law: "While we agree that Alba's allegations show that his working condition were difficult and stressful, we hold that they cannot be described as intolerable." The Court noted that before the plaintiff resigned, the employer stated it might work out some arrangement with him short of his termination.

1 comment:

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