I Was Forced to Resign Because of My Age. What Should I Do?

If you were forced to resign due to your age you may be entitled to recover damages from your employer. Your resignation may be considered a termination which is called a constructive discharge.

If you were constructively discharged by your employer, the law considers you were fired which means you have certain rights that employees who willingly resign don’t have. This includes eligibility to receive unemployment benefits and the right to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against your employer.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) provides protection for certain applicants and employees over the age of 40 years from discrimination on the basis of age in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, or terms, conditions or privileges of employment.

What is Forced Resignation?

Forced resignation or constructive discharge typically means involuntary resignation by an employee. If an employee is told he or she is too old for the job and is asked to resign this is a forced resignation which violates employment legislation. Sometimes forced resignation takes place because the employer is retaliating against the employee for some reason which makes life in the workplace intolerable for the employee.

Constructive Discharge Claim

If you find yourself being forced to resign because of your age you may be eligible to file a constructive discharge claim. Typically the term "constructive discharge" is when a worker has been forced to resign or retire because the employer has constructed a hostile or intolerable work environment or has applied other forms of pressure which has forced the employee to resign because of age.

In order to be eligible to file a constructive discharge claim you must have terminated the contract by resigning. When you resign, you should include in your resignation letter that you are leaving the job because your employer has breached the employment contract.

When proving a constructive discharge has taken place the plaintiff only needs to prove that the employer deliberately created working conditions that were so intolerable that the average employee would be compelled to resign. The sorts of evidence needed to support a constructive discharge claim are as follows:

  • offer letter;
  • employment contract;
  • job description;
  • letters, emails and any other communication between you and your employer;
  • emails between managers and/or HR;
  • witness statements from work colleagues;

You need to show you have responded to the breach within a reasonable period of time. This will mean producing evidence of when the breaches occurred and when you resigned.

Next Steps to Take

As soon as you start to experience an intolerable work condition created just for you based on your age you should gather all evidence that has forced you to resign. To win a claim you must prove that the circumstances were repetitive and they were not dealt with by the company

A forced resignation is not an easy situation to handle on your own. Filling out the Free Case Evaluation can connect you to an independent, participating attorney who subscribes to the website.  

Additional Resources