Getting fired is not the only situation that could lead to a wrongful termination. In fact, employers who want you out of the company might not explicitly fire you to avoid liability. They may instead create a hostile or intolerable working condition that could compel you to resign. There could be many reasons behind this. You may have seen something you shouldn’t have, reported a person of power for their wrongdoing or posed as a threat at work.
Regardless, employers might resort to indirect methods that force you to resign rather than directly firing you.
Constructive discharge happens when a manager or employer creates an intolerable work environment that forces an employee to quit. Intolerable working conditions typically include:
- Emotionally or verbally abusive treatment from bosses or coworkers
- Sexual harassment or assault
- Discriminatory treatment
A real-life example is Parris Pizza, where racial slurs and increased harassment after complaints led an employee to resign. This example highlights how unbearable conditions can result in a wrongful termination claim.
General working conditions
While there are specific standards for intolerable working conditions, not all unfavorable circumstances at work amount to harsh conditions. Factors such as demotion, poor performance rating or a pay cut may not be sufficient to claim constructive discharge. In California, however, the courts treat a constructive discharge as a dismissal rather than a resignation. So, if you’ve experienced such a scenario, you may contact Licata & Yeremenko, A Professional Law Corporation to help you start a constructive discharge claim against your employer.