Updated: Mar 28
A guide to help you determine if you have a wrongful termination claim against your employer
In California employment law, constructive termination (also called constructive discharge) occurs when an employer intentionally establishes such unhealthy working conditions for an employee that the employee has no choice but to resign. You should consult with a pre-screened Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles (and the rest of California!) if this is the case.
Under conditions that would give rise to a California unfair termination lawsuit, if the worker were to be fired, unfair constructive termination is considered wrongful termination.
A wrongful constructive termination case may also be based on some of the exceptions to at-will jobs under California employment law, like an ordinary wrongful termination case. That said, it's best to consult with a prescreened Wrongful Termination Lawyer in California.
What is California's Unfair Constructive Termination / Unfair Constructive Discharge Law?
In California, the law of constructive wrongful termination (also known as constructive wrongful discharge) provides that even if you quit instead of being fired, you can sue an employer for wrongful termination.
To sue an employer for constructive wrongful termination successfully, you need to be able to demonstrate two things:
Your employer deliberately or knowingly created working conditions for you that were unbearable by acts of retribution in the workplace, so that you will have little choice but to resign; and
Your boss could not fire you outright, but you would have had a legitimate wrongful termination claim against him/her if he/she had.
It is necessary to note that California's wrongful constructive discharge law only when the above conditions apply. If you're not quite sure if your case fits, consult with a prescreened Wrongful Termination Lawyer in Los Angeles.
Most non-union workers in California are "at-will workers" either under the express terms of their employment contract or under the default at-will rule applicable in California. At-will workers can be fired at any time, regardless of whether the employer has a reasonable reason to do so.
An at-will worker can, at any time, even be "constructively terminated." That is, if you want as long as you are at will, your employer may subject you to unbearable working conditions.
But in this scenario, if an exception to at-will jobs applies to your case, then you might have a legitimate cause claim against your employer for constructive wrongful termination. Call a Wrongful Termination Attorney in Los Angeles to start building your case.
What is Constructive Termination in California?
Under the Unreasonable Constructive Termination Act of California, a constructive termination happens when an employer.
It purposely produces or knowingly permits,
So unbearable or exacerbated working circumstances,
That a fair employer would recognize that there would be no alternative but to resign a reasonable person in the employee's role.
Unpleasant working conditions are not appropriate to constitute a constructive discharge, as you can see from the above concept of constructive termination. Instead, the circumstances must be so poor that a fair worker will feel forced to resign.