About Constructive Discharge and How an Employee Must Deal With It

constructive discharge

Wrongful termination is one of the many employment issues that employees in California. Basically, it can be categorized into two types. The first and the most common type is wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Here, an employee is directly or intentionally terminated for reasons other than those allowed under the prevailing federal and state laws. An example of such is when an employer decides to fire an employee who reported to a federal or state agency about his or her employer’s engagement in an illegal activity. So is getting terminated on the basis of one’s protected characteristics such as race, age, sex, disability, and the like.

The second type is wrongful termination in the form of constructive discharge. Here, an aggrieved employee is forced to quit his or her job because of his or her employer’s unfair treatment, which often involves discrimination on the basis of one’s protected characteristic or harassment. The employer doesn’t fire the employee directly, but creates a hostile working environment, making life miserable for the latter. Both types of wrongful termination should be properly and promptly presented through legal means, through the appropriate federal or state agency or through the expertise of an employment attorney.

What a Victim of Constructive Discharge in California Must Know

In proving that an employer subjected its employee to wrongful termination through constructive discharge, the latter must carry the burden of proof when raising the issue through legal means. For the aggrieved employee to claim damages against his or her erring employer, he or she must present prevalent pieces of evidence proving that the latter created or permitted frequent or severe actions of discrimination and/or harassment with intent. For the employer to be accused of constructive discharge, the employee must prove that the former had something to do with the hostile working environment he or she is experiencing in the workplace. He or she must also prove that his or her employer was either knowledgeable or should have known about the discriminatory actions, but failed to address it immediately.

An important thing to remember in this instance is that the employee must have done his or her part in reporting the hostile working environment by letting proper persons within the workplace know about it. By doing so, his or her employer would be enlightened by the fact that he or she is being harassed or discriminated against. The employer, upon knowledge of the situation, can penalize those who are behind those illegal workplace actions. Without the foregoing proof, the employee may not be able to establish the fact that he or she was forced to resign and, therefore, was subjected to constructive discharge termination.

The employment and labor laws in the state provide that an employee cannot just simply resigned from his or her job and then file a lawsuit for constructive discharge termination. Not only should there be proof that his or her employer knew or participated in doing the illegal action, but there should also be evidence of intolerable adverse working condition, which is the main reason why he or she quitted his or her job. In this regard, it would be imperative for him or her to seek legal assistance from a state or federal agency or through a law firm that focuses on employment cases. That way, a claim or lawsuit may be filed against the erring employer.


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