U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies Statute of Limitations for Constructive Discharge Claims

05.31.2016

In some employment discrimination cases, an employee may allege that the employer treated him or her so poorly that the employee was essentially forced to quit, or in other words, that the employee was “constructively discharged.”  Last week, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the statute of limitations on an employee’s constructive discharge claim does not begin to run until that employee gives notice of his or her intention to resign. 

Some federal circuit courts had previously held that the last incident of discrimination or bias would control the length of time in which an employee had to bring a constructive discharge claim.

This means that an employee who waits too long to bring a discrimination claim may still have a viable cause of action alleging that the discriminatory treatment he or she faced left the employee no choice but to resign.  The decision highlights the importance of not only ensuring the work environment is free of discrimination and harassment, but also ensuring that after an employee has made a complaint of such treatment, he or she does not face any treatment that may appear to be retaliatory.