Constructive discharge or termination in Texas

What is constructive discharge or termination in Texas?

In Texas wrongful termination cases, the employee does not required to be formally fired.


Forced resignation

What is constructive discharge in Texas?

Texas Courts use six factors to assess whether an employee was constructively discharged fired or terminated: (1) demotion; (2) reduction in salary; (3) reduction in job responsibilities; (4) reassignment to menial or degrading work; (5) badgering, harassment, or humiliation by the employer calculated to encourage the employee’s resignation; or (6) offers of early retirement that would make the employee worse off whether the offer were accepted or not. 

“The test is objective. The question is . . . whether a reasonable employee in her situation would have felt so compelled to resign.

This is a high standard. The courts require the demonstration of bad acts (“aggravating factors”) by the employer that caused the employee to quit.

Any single or combination of the factors above or other examples of bad treatment of work may be sufficient to established a forced resignation A.K.A constructive discharge.

If you are concerned about your forced resignation will affect your eligability for unemployment benefits, take a look at the Texas Workforce Commission’s guidance on voluntary leaving.

Not every bad act is a forced termination

Even if the employer harasses the worker as a calculated move to encourage his or her resignation, the harassment alleged does not always rise to the level of a constructive discharge.  The Fifth Circuit court of appeals (which  is the appellate court over Federal cases in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi) has held that even “isolated” use of ethnic slurs, outright insults, and a threat do not constitute sufficient badgering, harassment, or humiliation to establish a constructive discharge.   The court expect us to take a common sense approach to constructive discharge.  Were the bad acts frequent or bad enough to change the work condition?  How do you know if you have a constructive discharge case? Talk to an employment lawyer that is familiar with current case laws. If your facts are similar to facts of a case where a court has recognized as constructive discharge, you may have an employment case. Even if your facts are unique, talk to an employment lawyer. Perhaps a common sens approach will determine if you have a case.