Some employers have been accused of increasingly engaging in tactics that have been referred to as “quiet firing.” This practice puts employees at risk of being effectively forced out of their jobs to prevent employers from needing to go through the process of firing employees. But what exactly is quiet firing, and why is it potentially illegal?
What is Quiet Firing? “Quiet firing” is a modern colloquial term for something known as a constructive discharge. In essence, this is when an employer tries to force an employee to quit by making their working circumstances intolerably difficult, avoiding the process of firing them by instead creating a hostile working environment that convinces them to quit. This illegal tactic is often done through subtle means, which can sometimes make it difficult to determine when an employer is intentionally engaged in a quiet firing. Why Do Employers Engage in Quiet Firings? Employers will engage in quiet firings for three major reasons. First, it allows them to avoid the potential legal and financial consequences of firing someone, such as a potential increase in their unemployment insurance rates. Second, when it goes as intended, an employee will quit rather than pursue an official complaint or legal action. Third, it gives an employer some plausible deniability when it comes to claims of discrimination or harassment. Why is Quiet Firing Illegal? Firing an employee through a constructive discharge is considered illegal precisely because of how hostile it is to an employee. In effect, it requires the employer to intentionally make working conditions so difficult that an employee would rather quit than try to deal with it, which almost invariably includes some form of violation of their legal rights. While it can potentially allow an employer to remove an employee without firing them when it goes the way they want, it also opens up employers to accusations of wrongful termination. What Should You Do? If you have been the victim of a quiet firing, or have faced retaliation for reporting one, you should speak to a lawyer with experience handling employment law claims. They can assist you with your case, and help you to devise a legal strategy that suits your needs. The sooner you call, the sooner they can get to work on your case. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 43 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. His new book, “Fired!: Protect Your Rights & FIGHT BACK If You’re Terminated, Laid Off, Downsized, Restructured, Forced to Resign or Quit,” is available in hardback, and contains valuable advice on dealing with employment and labor law issues. To purchase the book, feel free to contact Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or visit the website at legalstratpub.com. To inquire about a legal matter, please feel free to contact attorney Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.