Legislation relating to codes of conduct and constructive discharge aims to protect workers and companies alike from those with bad intentions. However, when any individual—on either side of the equation—finds themselves in hot water relating to these nuanced aspects of business operation, the path forwards can be difficult to identify. 

With that in mind, today we’re going to touch on questions such as obligations in relation to codes of conduct and answer the question, what is constructive discharge? We’ll also explore why a corporate investigations form can serve as a white night for those in need of guidance in these areas.

Codes of Conduct Obligations

Certain kinds of businesses and certainly all public companies are legally mandated to have codes of conduct in place. However, even those that are not obliged should consider this a powerful tool of self-protection with many associated rewards. The job of codes of conduct is to lay out the values, mission, and principles that the organization aspires to and relates them to the contractual commitments that each employee makes when entering the company. 

Well-written codes of conduct not only define desired behavior, but also serve as a powerful marketing tool—a public statement of intent. Finally, their mere presence is a form of risk mitigation, demonstrating a “good faith effort” to prevent illegal activity on the company’s watch and setting clear boundaries that those with nefarious intentions must actively decide to cross.

What Is Constructive Discharge?

Constructive discharge is the term used to describe when an employee resigns because their employee created a hostile work environment. Because the decision was forced rather than voluntary, it is seen in the eyes of the law as a termination, and as such, a wrongful termination claim can be brought after the fact.

Thanks to decisions made by the U.S. Supreme court in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), workplace discrimination can be the forbearer of constructive discharge, although the burden of proof for what constitutes “intolerable working conditions” must meet a high standard and be backed up by evidence. In this endeavor, a corporate-specialized private investigator can offer expert assistance in building a case or indeed disproving one.

The Employer’s Duty Vs the Employee’s Duty

Whether navigating action following an alleged breach of codes of conduct or a constructive dismissal, it can be important for each party to demonstrate their prior intentions. For example, an employer countering a claim of constructive dismissal may be able to demonstrate that the employee didn’t raise the alarm or provide the opportunity for the company to rectify the problem. Equally, an employee may be able to demonstrate that they asked for support but weren’t given any. Only in demonstrating that their employer acted on an illegal impulse or with discriminatory motives will their claim be successful.

Do you need assistance in navigating a matter relating to codes of conduct or constructive dismissal? If so, the corporate investigations team here at Lauth Investigations International is ready to provide critical support. If you require expert guidance and access to a seasoned investigator who can help you build a clear-cut case, we are only a phone call away. Get in touch today for a no-obligation consultation.