What is constructive termination?

Most employers in California are diligent in their efforts to provide every employee with a working environment that is free from discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Unfortunately, there are times when a work environment becomes so intolerable that a worker feels the only course of action is to resign. This is called constructive termination.

It is possible to file a wrongful termination claim based on this scenario here in California. The court will overlook the fact the employee technically quit if the evidence shows that he or she was constructively terminated. The evidence must show an escalating and/or persistent hostile work environment under which any reasonable person would quit in order to escape it. Further, it must be proved that the employer either designed the environment that way in order to force a resignation or knew about the working conditions but did nothing about it.

The employee must have informed someone in management about the conditions because if the company was not informed of the issue or given the opportunity to correct the problem, there is no constructive termination. It ordinarily takes more than one incident to create a constructive termination. However, if an employer commits an act of violence against the employee or requires that the employee commit a crime in order to keep his or her job, that could be enough to create an intolerable work environment.

Other legal requirements must be met in order to prove a constructive termination. No one should be forced to endure harassment, retaliation or discrimination for a paycheck. If you believe that you were forced to leave your employment due to intolerable working conditions, it would be in your best interest to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Source: FindLaw, "Constructive Dismissal and Wrongful Termination", Accessed on Aug. 19, 2016

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