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

Employers are normally able to terminate your employment at any time for any reason if you are working at-will. However, this doesn’t extend to firing you simply because of your gender. This is illegal and considered wrongful termination under federal and most state anti-discrimination laws, such as the federal Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

An extension of this legislation exists when an employee is forced to resign because their employer has made it intolerable to keep working because of their gender. Being forced to resign because your gender has made it intolerable to keep working is considered a case of constructive discharge and equivalent to being fired by your employer.

If you have been forced to resign because of your gender, you may be able to file a claim of wrongful termination against your employer. You may be able to obtain compensation, have your job reinstated under acceptable conditions and claim unemployment benefit while searching for another suitable job.

What is Forced Resignation?

Forced resignation or constructive discharge exists when an employee is asked to resign because of their gender or the conditions at work have been deliberately created to force you to resign.

Note that forced resignation is neither straightforward termination by an employer or voluntary resignation by the employee. If the intolerable working environment didn’t exist, you would not have felt forced to resign.

Constructive Discharge Claim

You will need to show evidence that you resigned because your employer had made conditions intolerable for you because of your gender.

This cannot be a one-off experience as the court will want to see evidence that it was ongoing or was part of a longer term working environment and that any average worker of the same gender would be forced to resign if they experienced similar work conditions at work as you did.

To support your constructive discharge claim you will also need to show evidence that you attempted to bring your concerns to your supervisor/ manager/ HR or directly with your employer with no success, i.e. the same intolerable conditions continued.

It is best to have written evidence that you have attempted to notify your concerns and that you have kept any responses from whomever it was that you contacted.

When you resign, you will need to include in your letter of resignation the reason that you felt forced to resign because of discrimination against you because of your gender and that this discrimination made it impossible to remain in employment. You should also include a reminder that this form of discrimination was a breach of anti-discrimination legislation. Keep a copy of your letter of resignation if you intend filing a claim.

Other evidence that will help to support your claim if you decide to file one includes any of the following:

  • your employment contract (if any);
  • your job description;
  • correspondence between you and your supervisor/ manager/ HR or employer regarding your complaint;
  • relevant witness statements from work colleagues.

Statutes of limitation apply to claims of this type, meaning that you should file your claim within the time limit specified dated from the time you experienced the conditions that forced you to resign.

Next Steps to Take

It is not an easy task filing a claim for constructive discharge. You may find that you will have more success in winning a claim if you hire an employment lawyer to help you.

Filling out the free evaluation form could help clarify if you have a claim or not.