“Constructive Discharge” Not an Exception to “Employment at Will”

Gordon v. Armorgoup N.A., A government contractor employee quit his job because racial harassment and discrimination forced him to resign — an alleged “constructive” discharge.  (Constructive discharge means that while one voluntarilly quits his job, he was effectively forced to do so by unfair circumstances).  The Court held that, under Virginia law, “constructive discharge” is not an exception to the general principle that employment in Virginia is “at will.”  One cannot sue for wrongful termination if he actually quit — “constructive discharge” or not.

The plaintiff in this case may still pursue a different prong of his lawsuit.  He also claimed that her employer was defrauding the government.  His False Claims Act allegations were based on his “constructive discharge.”  The Court has permitted these claims to go forward because “constructive discharge” can be used as a predicate to a False Claims Act claim.

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