Employee Fired After Requesting Gas Mileage Reimbursement

employment expert witnessThis case involves a man who was a maintenance worker for an apartment rental company. His job required him to work at various properties that the company, which had a history of astoundingly low employee retention rates, managed. He was ordered by his supervisor to drive his own vehicle on work-related errands. The man had to drive his own truck to the hardware store to buy supplies to use for work. He regularly drove a minimum of 30 miles per day in his own truck running errands for work. The man told his supervisor that he was having a problem affording gasoline for his truck and he asked his supervisor to reimburse him for the mileage. His supervisor told him that he could not be reimbursed. After the man again requested that his supervisor reimburse him for the mileage, the supervisor told him that he would not get reimbursed. The man eventually quit his job because he could not afford to earn only $10.00 per hour and have to run work-related errands and not be reimbursed for mileage. The man claimed that he had been “constructively discharged” from his job.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. If an employee quits their job because their employer required them to go on work-related errands in their own vehicle and refused to reimburse the mileage, is this a constructive discharge?

Expert Witness Response

Most states have a labor code which states the law regarding constructive discharge. A constructive discharge occurs when an employee is forced to quit their job because their employer makes work impossible by having intolerable work conditions. In order to show that they were “constructively discharged” from their job, an employee has to prove that their employer intentionally created or knowingly permitted intolerable conditions on the job. Also, an employee must prove that their employer knew that these conditions would lead a reasonable person in the employee’s situation to quit their job. Constructive discharge cases are dependent on the specific facts of each case. In this case, the employee was constructively discharged from his job because the amount of money that he was required to spend to pay for gas to run work-related errands constituted a substantial part of his monthly salary. Also, since his employer failed to reimburse him for mileage, this means that his salary was essentially reduced to less that minimum wage. Because of this, the man’s working conditions were intolerable and he was constructively discharged from his job. In this case, the employer’s failure to reimburse the man for mileage made his working conditions so intolerable that the man had no choice but to quit.


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