Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
A slight decrease in pay coupled with some loss of supervisory responsibilities is insufficient to constitute a constructive discharge, because constructive discharge requires additional "aggravating factors."
Appellee Robert T. McCann, a 65-year-old employee of Appellant Litton Systems, Inc., was given a newly created position of Staff Director--a position without a description and little in the way of job duties. Two weeks after being given the Staff Director position, appellee was told he was to be laid off as a part of a company-wide reduction in force. He was given the option of accepting three-weeks’ severance pay or working for three additional weeks. Appellee chose to work. During the next three weeks, appellee was told: (1) that he could work until March, when he would be eligible for retirement; (2) that he could accept a twelve percent pay cut and go to work for Schenk; or (3) that he could accept a transfer to Litton's Canadian division. Appellee flatly rejected the transfer under Schenk, terming it an "insult" and complaining that the proffered position had no job description. Meanwhile, the Canadian transfer fell through, apparently as the result of a misunderstanding, and appellee decided to retire. Subsequently, he brought an action under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C.S. §§ 621-634, alleging constructive discharge due to age discrimination. Following a jury trial, appellee won a judgment and appellant filed a motion for a judgment n.o.v. or for a new trial on the grounds that the evidence failed to support either a finding of constructive discharge or age discrimination.
Did the evidence fail to support either a finding of constructive discharge or age discrimination, thereby entitling appellant to a motion for a judgment n.o.v. or for a new trial?
The court held that to reverse a denial of a judgment n.o.v., the court had to find that reasonable men could not arrive at a contrary verdict. The court held that appellee failed to demonstrate that his reassignment to a personally less desirable position was by itself sufficient to establish constructive discharge. The court held that there were no aggravating factors indicating the intent to force appellee's retirement and that a reasonable jury could not have found that appellant made appellee's working conditions so intolerable that a reasonable person would have felt compelled to retire. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's order and rendered judgment for appellant.