UPDATE: Supreme Court Rules That The Filing Period For Constructive Discharge Claims Begin When The Employee Quits

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UPDATE: Supreme Court Rules That The Filing Period For Constructive Discharge Claims Begin When The Employee Quits

By: Greg Blueford

As an update to an Eblast posted in January, the Supreme Court has ruled that the filing period for a constructive discharge claim begins to run when an employee resigns as a result of discriminatory behavior, rather than the time of an employer’s last discriminatory act. Constructive discharge occurs when an employee resigns as a result of the employer creating a hostile work environment. As you may recall, in Green v. Brennan, the plaintiff’s constructive discharge lawsuit was barred because he did not file the charge within 45 days of the last discriminatory act.

Now, the Court has reversed those lower court rulings and established a new nationwide rule regarding constructive discharge. The court identified three reasons for adopting its ruling:

  1. A resignation is a necessary component of constructive discharge (i.e. you have to actually quit to be “constructively discharged”);
  2. Nothing in the current regulations compels a different rule; and
  3. As a practical matter, this rule makes administration of the law simpler and fairer.

Further, the Court held that the date of resignation is the date that the employee gives notice to the employer of the intent to resign and not the last day on the job.

Although the Court ruled that the limitations period is now triggered by the employee’s resignation, this does not dispose of the case for the plaintiff in Green, because there were factual disputes as to the actual date of resignation.


It remains to be seen the fallout from this ruling. Practically speaking, employees will in theory be able to indefinitely stall the limitations period, for months or even years, until they decide it is time to resign and bring forth their lawsuit. This means that an employee could bring an employment-related action years after the alleged wrongdoing. Therefore, employers should be careful when an employee approaches management about quitting and be sure not to create any ambiguity in the day of notice. Please contact The Saqui Law Group if you have any questions regarding constructive discharge or any employment related claims.



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