If you have opened a social media app in the last few years, you have undoubtedly heard the term “quiet quitting.” This viral term is used by employers and employees alike to describe putting in the bare minimum effort at one’s job. More recently, the term “quiet firing” has been trending, drawing attention to employers who deliberately create miserable workplaces with the goal of getting certain employees to quit. Quiet firing is usually done in an attempt to avoid liability for unemployment benefits or circumvent a wrongful discharge claim. But is this legal?
In this post, the Matern Law Group team will address your questions about quiet firing and consider whether some quiet firing tactics create more problems for employers than they solve. The attorneys at Matern Law Group will also help employees who have been victims of these techniques find their voices and discuss ways to seek compensation and restitution.
Quiet Firing Meaning
Quiet firing usually has little to do with actual termination. Instead, it refers to a possibly illegal employment practice where an employer or manager deliberately mismanages or mistreats a worker with the intention of inducing them to quit. However, the manager stops short of firing them. Examples of this behavior can include:
- Reducing the employee’s job responsibilities;
- Issuing excessive or impossible-to-complete workloads; and
- Removing employees from group discussions and decision-making sessions necessary to complete their work.
This is not an exhaustive list. If you think you are the victim of a quiet firing or have been the victim of a constructive termination, contact Matern Law Group today. The attorneys at Matern Law Group may be able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Is Quiet Firing Legal?
Employers and managers may use the tactics listed above to force employees to quit their job without formally firing them. While not outright prohibited, quiet firing may be illegal if done in a hostile manner or used to discriminate against employees based on age, race, sex, or other protected characteristics. If you believe that your quiet firing was actually due to your age, race, or other protected characteristics, you may be able to bring a constructive discharge claim in California. Be sure to discuss this with a qualified employment lawyer as soon as possible.
Signs You Are Being Quietly Fired
If you are being quietly fired, the signs may not be immediately obvious. After all, that’s the whole purpose of quiet firing. In fact, you may not notice until a quiet firing is well underway. Some key signs of a quiet firing include:
- You experience significant changes to your work responsibilities, like reassignment of key tasks, or having unreasonable performance targets set for you;
- Your compensation changes without notice or cause, such as experiencing pay cuts or being prevented from taking overtime shifts;
- Work conditions change only for you or your protected class, including changes to working hours or shifts; and
- Your supervisor or team stops communicating openly with you and refuses to credit you for your work.
Workplace changes like these can be demoralizing and even make you want to quit, which is exactly what a quiet firing is. If conditions in your workplace make you feel incompetent, unappreciated, isolated, or helpless, sometimes leaving seems like the best option. However, forcing you to leave under those conditions may be a constructive termination.
What Is Constructive Discharge in California?
Constructive discharge is when an employer makes conditions of employment so intolerable that a reasonable employer should know that the employee would have felt compelled to resign. To prove a constructive discharge claim, an employee would have to show the following:
- The intolerable conditions existed at the time the employee felt forced to resign;
- Those conditions were so unacceptable and incompatible with continued employment that a reasonable employee would have felt they needed to quit;
- The employer intentionally created or permitted these conditions; and
- A reasonable employer would have realized that an employee experiencing these things would have felt compelled to quit.
If you have experienced circumstances like these, contact an experienced California employment discrimination lawyer right away. Matern Law Group may be able to help.
How Matern Law Group Can Help
Matern Law Group is committed to obtaining justice for you. Whether you have been the victim of quiet firing or have concerns about other employment discrimination issues, Matern Law Group can help. The firm prides itself on delivering exceptional legal services to clients. Matern Law Group believes that everyone deserves to have a powerful voice in the legal process. The experienced attorneys will fight tenaciously for your rights. Matern Law Group’s strategies are customized to the facts of your case to achieve the best outcome possible. The firm does not charge clients until the client recovers something. Contact Matern Law Group today for a free case evaluation.