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Unpublished Paper
TWO CONFLICTING FILING PERIODS FOR A CONSTRUCTIVE DISCHARGE CLAIM: WHICH ONE IS A BETTER MEASURE?
ExpressO (2015)
  • Aditi Kumar, American University Washington College of Law
Abstract

Constructive discharge is a long-standing phenomenon. The doctrine emerged in the 1930s in the context of alleged unfair labor practices under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Constructive discharge occurs when the working conditions are so intolerable that a reasonable employee feels that she no choice but to quit her job. The Supreme Court brought the discussion of constructive discharge to light in Pennsylvania State Police v. Suders[1] where it discussed this principle in a hostile work environment context. Over the years, there has been much debate over the time period when a constructive discharge claim should begin. Since constructive discharge can occur without a discrete act – such as a firing or a demotion – the majority circuits have held that starting the statute of limitations period from the date of the employee’s resignation better serves the aggrieved employee and is a more reasonable measure.

On the contrary, a few minority circuits hold that the time period should begin from the date the employee learns of the employer’s discriminatory conduct. Recently, this issue came before the Tenth Circuit in Green v. Donahoe,[2] where it held that a constructive discharge claim accrues on the date of the discriminatory employment action that forces the worker to quit, not when he or she resigns. This decision has deepened the split between the circuits, and the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Green on April 27, 2015. With the end of this debate in sight, this paper examines the split between the circuits, analyzes the existing conflicting periods, and proposes the measure that should be adopted by the Supreme Court.

[1] Pa. State Police v. Suders, 542 U.S. 129 (2004).

[2] Green v. Donahoe, 760 F.3d 1135 (10th Cir. 2014).

Publication Date
May 6, 2015
Citation Information
Aditi Kumar. "TWO CONFLICTING FILING PERIODS FOR A CONSTRUCTIVE DISCHARGE CLAIM: WHICH ONE IS A BETTER MEASURE?" ExpressO (2015)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/aditi_kumar/1/