Upholding the vital policy contemplations of the LWPA’s statutory scheme, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal confirmed that Louisiana workers who suffer constructive discharge are still owed all wages they are due.
Our client alleged a host of employment violations, including sexual harassment which eventually led to our client no longer being able to work for Defendants, i.e. constructive discharge. At the trial court, Defendants took the misplaced position that “La. R.S. 23:631 expressly states that the employee must be ‘discharged’ or ‘resign’ in order for the statute to apply.” Dillon v. Toys R Us-Delaware Corp., 221 So. 3d 876, 878 (La. App. 4 Cir. 5/31/17). In other words, Defendants argues that because our client claimed she was “constructively discharged,” rather than “discharged” or “resigned,” that she would not be entitled to her rights under the LWPA.
On appeal, the Louisiana Fourth Circuit properly held that “in order for Ms. Dillon to state a wage claim against Toys R Us, she must allege i) that Toys R Us was her employer, ii) that the employee/employer relationship ceased to exist, iii) that at the time that the employee/employer relationship ended she was owed wages, and iv) that Toys R Us failed to submit the owed wages within the statutorily mandated 15 days” – facts which were clearly pled in our client’s Rule for wages. Dillon, 221 So. 3d at 879.
We find that those facts, taken as true, are sufficient to establish a wage claim against Toys R Us. We do not find, as the trial court did, that failing to use the word “discharged” or “resigned” is fatal to stating a claim under La. R.S. 23:631 and 632. Toys R Us can challenge the validity of the allegations at the Rule to Show Cause, but its exception of no cause of action should have been denied.Dillon v. Toys R Us-Delaware Corp., 221 So. 3d 876, 879 (La. App. 4 Cir. 5/31/17).
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