In Green v. Town of East Haven, 2020 WL 1146687 (2d Cir. March 10, 2020), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, inter alia, vacated a district court’s order grantinf defendant’s motion for summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s claim of age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) under a theory of constructive discharge.
The court recited the operative legal standard as follows:
A plaintiff may prove a constructive discharge by establishing that his employer, rather than acting directly, deliberately made his working conditions so intolerable that [he was] forced into an involuntary resignation, and such an intolerable condition may be shown by evidence that the employer gave the plaintiff the choice of resigning or being fired[.] [Citations omitted; formatting altered.]
As this, and countless other, cases illustrate, this standard is far easier to state than to apply.
In sum, the Court rejected the district court’s adoption of a “substantive controlling principle … that a plaintiff cannot show that a threat of termination constituted a constructive discharge unless the threat (a) was a categorical ultimatum that if she did not resign she would be fired, and (b) was delivered by an ultimate decisionmaker as to firing,” finding that this “imposed a legal standard at an unwarranted level of specificity.”