Constructive Discharge Claims Sufficiently Alleged Against Crouse Health Hospital

In Buczakowski v. Crouse Health Hospital, Inc. et al, 18-cv-330, 2019 WL 6330206 (N.D.N.Y. Nov. 26, 2019), the court, inter alia, held that plaintiff sufficiently alleged a constructive discharge claim. The court’s analysis, briefly summarized below, follows and builds on its finding that plaintiff sufficiently alleged a hostile work environment (which I discussed here).

The court summarized the legal standard for constructive discharge:

It is well settled that [a]n adverse employment action may also take the form of a constructive discharge. A constructive discharge occurs ‘when the employer, rather than acting directly, deliberately makes an employee’s working conditions so intolerable that the employee is forced into an involuntary resignation. Working conditions are intolerable if they are so difficult or unpleasant that a reasonable person in the employee’s shoes would have felt compelled to resign. In this District, that means that to demonstrate constructive discharge, [a] plaintiff must demonstrate harassment that is more severe and pervasive than that required to show a hostile work environment. [A] plaintiff must plausibly allege that ‘the discharge occurred in circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination based on [a protected characteristic]. [Citations and internal quotation marks omitted.]

Applying the law, the court explained:

Plaintiff has plausibly alleged an aggravated case … of hostile work environment, which is, in effect, constructive discharge. In addition to the allegations supporting Plaintiff’s claim of a hostile work environment …, Plaintiff alleges she was advised that she “would not have time available for her medical appointments” in her new position as patient account representative “and would be subject to disciplinary action if she missed work as a result” of taking medical leave. Am. Compl. ¶ 35. Plaintiff therefore “resigned in protest as she could endure no more.” Id. These allegations are sufficient to allege constructive discharge.