We cannot deny that quitting your job can be difficult and stressful, especially if you have no other alternative. Although labor laws in most states permit employees to quit their jobs at any time, you need to weigh your options and list down reasons why you think quitting is the best option for you.
For instance, if your employer makes your work conditions intolerable, you could resign and file a lawsuit against him/her. In fact, if you are forced to quit your job due to intolerable work conditions, the law will typically treat you as if you were dismissed unfairly.
If you are wondering whether you can sue your employer after you quit, you are in the right place. Read on to find out when and when you cannot sue your employer after you quit and how you can fight to protect your rights.
Can I Sue My Employer After I Quit?
As mentioned in the introduction, employment laws in most states permit employees to quit their jobs regardless of the reason for quitting. We can look at it from two perspectives; first, you are resigning because you no longer want to work at that place or are forced to resign because the work conditions have become intolerable.
If you quit because you no longer want to work at that place or your contract has expired, you cannot sue your employer afterward. Basically, it means that your time was up and you had to move on and try to find green pastures.
However, if you feel that your employer has discriminated against you based on your race, gender, national origin, or some other protected reasons, then you have a claim. In such a case, it means that your employer has fired you for the wrong reasons. In legal terms, this is commonly referred to as “constructive discharge or wrongful dismissal.”
Suing for Constructive Discharge/Wrongful Dismissal
Constructive damage means you were forced to quit due to intolerable work conditions. In most cases, employees subjected to sexual harassment, disability harassment, racial harassment, or gender discrimination may have grounds for quitting and filing a constructive discharge lawsuit against their employer.
Also, employees exposed to unsafe work practices/ conditions may have sufficient grounds to quit and claim compensation. In this case, employees who are being forced to do something illegal or are not paid their salaries, wages, and commissions are justified to quit.
However, before you quit, make sure you have tried to solve the issue. For instance, if your supervisor is forcing you to do something illegal, make sure you inform higher authorities about it and give them time to respond. If the situation doesn’t change, then you are justified to resign.
If you have been exposed to intolerable work conditions and do nothing to correct the situation before you quit, you may not be able to sue your employer after quitting. Keep in mind that the burden of proving you were dismissed unfairly or forced to resign due to intolerable work conditions lies with you.
Generally, you have to justify the following to prove that you were forced to quit:
- You were subjected to a hostile work environment, mistreated at work, or forced to do something illegal.
- You filed a complaint with the relevant people at the workplace (supervisor, manager, HR department), but no action was taken to correct the situation, and the mistreatment continued.
- The working environment or mistreatment was so bad /intolerable that any other reasonable employee would have done the same thing you did (resign).
- Mistreatment/discrimination was the primary cause of your resignation.
How Do I Quit My Job Professionally?
If you feel like you have hit a dead end and you can no longer continue working for your current employer, you need to quit “professionally” to avoid ruining your chances of filing a constructive discharge lawsuit against him/her.
To do this, make sure you consult an experienced labor attorney before you hand in that resignation letter. Explain your situation to the lawyer, without hiding anything. The attorney will go over your situation to establish whether you are legally justified to quit.
Sometimes, your situation may not legally justify your resignation and suing for compensation. Keep in mind that once you resign, there is nothing you can do to make your claim stronger. Therefore, it is better to stay and gather as much evidence as possible before you finally resign and start fighting for your rights.
Lastly, if you quit and are planning to file a lawsuit against your employer, be sure to do so promptly. Things might not work in your favor if you wait for too long before suing your employer.