Constructive Discharge Claim Sufficiently Alleged Against Rockland Psychiatric Center

In Moultry v. Rockland Psychiatric Center, 2020 WL 2765870 (SDNY May 28, 2020) (J. Roman), the court, inter alia, denied defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s claim of constructive discharge.

From the decision:

A “[c]onstructive discharge of an employee occurs when an employer, rather than directly discharging an individual, intentionally creates an intolerable work atmosphere that forces an employee to quit involuntarily. Working conditions are intolerable if they are so difficult or unpleasant that a reasonable person in the employee’s shoes would have felt compelled to resign.” Whidbee v. Garzarelli Food Specialties, Inc., 223 F.3d 62, 73 (2d Cir. 2000) (quoting Chertkova v. Connecticut Gen. Life Ins., 92 F.3d 81, 89 (2d Cir. 1996)) (internal citation omitted). A constructive discharge has been deemed an adverse act. Fitzgerald, 251 F.3d at 357. Plaintiff alleges she was forced to resign due to the harsh and unbearable conditions created by her supervisors. In essence, that she was constructively discharged.

Lastly, Plaintiff has sufficiently asserted facts to support a finding that her termination occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination. “An inference of discrimination can arise from circumstances including, but not limited to … the more favorable treatment of employees not in the protected group” or can be shown by an employer “replac[ing] a terminated or demoted employee with an individual outside the employee’s protected class.” Littlejohn, 795 F.3d at 312–13. Here, Plaintiff has alleged that the Defendant passed over Plaintiff on multiple occasions multiple times, in favor of candidates outside her protected class. Defendant’s alleged conduct gives rise to an inference of discrimination. See Texas Dep’t of Cmty. Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 25 (1981); see also Littlejohn, 795 F.3d at 307, 311 (underscoring Plaintiff’s “minimal” burden by noting a Title VII discrimination complaint “may simply use the word discrimination, thereby adequately communicating to the defendant the nature of the claim”). Accordingly, Defendant’s motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s Title VII claim for constructive discharge pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) must be denied.

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