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Constructive dismissal: Different from wrongful termination?

Most employers in California seek to provide every employee with a working environment that is free from harassment, discrimination and retaliation. Unfortunately, many workers are faced with wrongful termination when they do not adhere to their employers' illegal practices. In some cases, instead of firing an employee, an employer could create a work environment so intolerable that an employee feels the only course of action is to resign. In legal terms, this is considered constructive dismissal.

Filing a lawsuit claiming constructive dismissal is a modified claim of wrongful termination. In certain circumstances, courts will disregard the fact the employee technically quit if the evidence shows that he or she was forced to do so under duress. 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 in a way to force a resignation or knew about the working conditions and did nothing about them.

A condition that has to be met is that the employee must have informed someone in management about the conditions prior to resigning. The company management had to be informed of the issue and given the opportunity to correct the problem in order for an employee to claim constructive dismissal. Also, it generally takes more than one incident to create a case for constructive dismissal.

There are several legal requirements that must be met in order to prove a constructive dismissal. No one should be forced to endure harassment, retaliation or discrimination in order to earn a living or suffer from wrongful termination because of his or her employer's illegal practices. Those in California who believe that they were forced to resign due to intolerable working conditions may find it in their best interests to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Source: FindLaw, "Constructive Dismissal and Wrongful Termination", Accessed on 08/22/2016

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