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Wrongful termination: What is constructive dismissal?

Have you ever had a job that was so terrible you wondered how any human being could tolerate it? What if the awful nature of the job required you to commit a crime, endanger your life or endure extremely uncomfortable conditions? Even worse, what if your employer created these circumstances on purpose, just to get you to quit?

If you left a job because of the egregious working conditions, you could be a victim of a type of wrongful termination called "constructive dismissal." These cases can happen when an employer wants to fire you but doesn't have a lawful reason to do so. Maybe you're protected from termination due to the employment contract you signed. Or, maybe the employer wants you to leave because of your race, national origin, religious viewpoint, disability status, gender – or some other protected status – but directly terminating you isn't an option.

Here's what you'll need to prove in a case like this:

  • The terrible working conditions were a recurring theme of your job, and they were sufficiently awful that any reasonable worker would have been compelled to quit.
  • Your employer knew that you were facing the horrible conditions, or your employer purposefully created the horrible conditions to inspire you to leave the job.

No employee in Florida should ever have to endure working conditions that are unreasonably difficult, dangerous or unlawful. If your employer indirectly forced you to leave your job by creating or allowing such conditions, you might want to investigate whether you can pursue a claim for constructive dismissal in state or federal court.

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