Age-Related Constructive Discharge Claim Dismissed; “Walter White”/Breaking Bad Reference Cited

In Kuehl v. City of New York, No. 151282/2018, 2020 WL 3578442 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County July 01, 2020), the court, inter alia, dismissed plaintiff’s age-based constructive claim.

From the decision:

To state a claim for constructive discharge, plaintiff must allege facts showing that defendant ‘deliberately created working conditions so intolerable, difficult or unpleasant that a reasonable person would have felt compelled to resign.’ ” Polidori, 39 A.D.3d at 405 (citations omitted). The test is not “merely whether the employee’s working conditions were difficult or unpleasant.” Spence v. Maryland Cas. Co., 995 F.2d 1147, 1156 (2d Cir. 1993). A prima facie constructive discharge claim may not be made out if the claim is based on dissatisfaction with promotions rather than intolerable working conditions. Esterquest v. Booz-Allen & Hamilton Inc., 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2545, *25-26 (S.D.N.Y. 2002).

Plaintiff argues that he was constructively discharged because he was denied a promotion, stripped of his managerial duties, and had his settlement authority reduced. Plaintiff did not argue that any other actions taken towards him, including Kim referring to him as “Mr. White,” contributed to the intolerable working conditions.9 Therefore, plaintiff’s sole argument for a constructive discharge claim rests almost entirely on the failure-to-promote claim alone. A failure-to-promote claim alone does not establish constructive discharge.

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