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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Looking about constructive discharge case. Still employed in logistics sal

Customer Question

Looking for information about constructive discharge case. Still employed in logistics sales, by company changed my title, job description, reassigned some of my accounts, impacting long standing relationships and potential revenue. Company headquartered in UT, I reside in MA
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 6 months ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question. People commonly confuse constructive discharge with wrongful termination. In fact, they are two completely separate concepts. In general, employment is "at will" and thus can be terminated for any reason not amounting to discrimination on the basis of a legally protected trait (race, religion, gender, etc.) or retaliation for engaging in certain forms of legally protected conduct (filing a wage claim, taking FMLA leave, etc.). It doesn't matter whether the basis for termination is fair, reasonable or even true. A "wrongful termination" is a termination that is motivated by a legally protected trait or activity. Those are the only kinds of terminations that are illegal. A constructive discharge, on the other hand, is simply a legal finding that an employee who resigned should be regarded as "discharged" because the employer created terms of employment that no reasonable person would have been able to endure. However, a constructive discharge says nothing about whether the termination was legal. Remember, since employment is at will absent an agreement to the contrary, most terminations don't violate the law even if they are unfair. Constructive discharge is relevant when it comes to unemployment benefits because employees who "quit" will generally be disqualified. It is also relevant if the employee can prove that their employer's MOTIVATION for the constructive discharge was a legally protected trait or activity. But that still must be proven in order for a constructive discharge to be legally actionable. Otherwise, you may be able to prove that you were "discharged" but that on its own doesn't mean anything in a court of law. You still need to prove that the discharge was for illegal reasons. I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.* Disclaimer *Just Answer is a venue for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed aby these communications.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
My contention is the relationships I built with customers is a vital part of my success and think that reassigning these accounts to someone else is impacting my earnings and relationships. Compounding that I have made it clear that I do not agree with this re-organization and am not happy. This was referred to a "misconduct" and I was warned in an email that any further discussion about this process will result in immediate termination. I've been with this company for 15 awards and always at the top of the group, with annual reviews supporting that statement. I have offered to change my relationship with the company from Sales Director as an employee and set up an LLC and work with them in a consultant/agent relationship, which was rejected.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Obviously miss-typed above. Should read I've been with the company 15 years and won multiple awards.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 6 months ago.
Thank you. I am very sorry to hear about all this. Unfortunately, though, even if you can establish that this amounts to a constructive termination it still would not give rise to a claim for WRONGFUL termination. In order to prove wrongful termination, you need to be able to prove that your employer's MOTIVATION for "constructively terminating" you is a legally protected trait or activity, as defined above. It would appear that what your employer is doing is very unfair, but no law requires your employer to be fair, and no law prevents them from taking customers away from you or making it difficult for you to succeed. I wish I could provide better news, but of course I am limited to explaining how the law functions in this circumstance. Again, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns.

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