Constructive Discharge from the Workplace
Constructive discharges from a workplace take place when an employer acts in such a way that effectually forces an employee to leave or retire. Even if the employee says that he or she “quits,” the employer relationship had actually concluded at the point the employer acted against the employee’s will. Consequently, a constructive discharge, from a legal standpoint, is considered to be a firing by the employer rather than a voluntary resignation or retirement by the employee. If you think this may have been the case in your situation, you might want to speak with a knowledgeable Orange County wrongful termination attorney who can further advise you based on the particulars of your case.
For a constructive discharge claim, an employee must show that the employer purposefully either created or knowingly allowed working conditions that were so unbearable or aggravated that a reasonable employer would appreciate that a reasonable person in the employee’s position would be obliged to resign. When figuring out whether a reasonable employee would feel so compelled to resign, courts take into account such factors as demotions, decreases in salary, reductions in job responsibilities, reassignments to demeaning work, or humiliation by the employer for the purpose of encouraging the employee to resign.
The employee must further inform someone in an authoritative position of the intolerable conditions before he or she may prevail on a constructive discharge claim. The notice will serve to keep employers from closing their eyes to wrongdoing and it will allow employers who are unaware of any misconduct to correct a potentially damaging situation.
A well-informed Orange County wrongful termination attorney will advise you that “intolerable” conditions include those that are either unusually intensified or amount to a nonstop pattern of objectionable conduct. For example, a constant course of harassment that goes uncorrected by management can constitute objectively intolerable working conditions.
You should note that single acts alone are usually not enough to support a constructive discharge claim; however, there are some instances in which even a single incident may be found to be “aggravated” misconduct by the employer, such as in cases involving a crime of violence against the employee or an ultimatum that the employee must perform a crime.
If you need the skills of a well-qualified Orange County wrongful termination attorney, please contact the Firm at 949-861-2524 for a free consultation.