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What is Constructive Discharge?

HomeBlogWhat is Constructive Discharge?
March 16, 2021

Losing your job can always be disappointing and perhaps shocking, but in most cases, terminated employees qualify for unemployment benefits and other types of financial support. If you believe that your employer fired you for an unlawful reason, you might seek financial recovery by filing a claim for wrongful termination. However, if you make the decision to leave your job, there can be little recourse when it comes to financial support while you find new employment.

It is important to realize that some employees feel forced to quit their jobs due to certain circumstances they must ensure at work. In some situations, it might be possible to pursue a claim for wrongful termination even though an employee technically quits. This is called constructive discharge when an employee leaves a job due to intolerable conditions or working environment their employer allowed or created. 

If you quit your job because of unacceptable conditions or conduct at work, speak with a San Francisco wrongful termination lawyer right away. 

What Can Lead to Constructive Discharge?

One of the most common examples of constructive discharge is due to sexual – or any other type of – harassment at work. Harassment is unlawful when it creates a hostile work environment, and the employer fails to properly respond to complaints of the matter. A hostile work environment is one created by such pervasive or offensive conduct that it is unreasonable for the employee to be expected to work in. 

If an employee properly reported harassment and the employer allowed the hostile work environment to persist, the employee might reasonably decide there is no option but to leave their job. In this situation, it is considered to be constructive discharge, and the employee might hold the employer liable for any related losses. 

Why Does Constructive Discharge Happen?

Some employers allow unreasonable work conditions out of laziness or disregard for compliance with the law. On the other hand, some employers might actively want an employee to quit instead of having to terminate them. This might happen when:

  • The employer wants to get out of an employment contract but does not have cause to fire the employee
  • The employer wants to prevent unemployment insurance premiums from increasing
  • The employer wants to avoid terminating the employee for another reason, such as connections outside of work or a simple lack of courage

No matter what the reasoning might be, it does not change the fact that the employee has rights after constructive discharge. These can include receiving unemployment benefits, as well as possible compensation via a wrongful termination claim. 

Contact a San Francisco Wrongful Termination Lawyer

In order to feel forced to quit your job, you have to experience some traumatic circumstances involving harassment or other unacceptable conditions. Whether you are thinking about quitting your job due to an intolerable situation or you already have done so, it is important to let a San Francisco wrongful termination attorney evaluate your rights. Our team at Olivier Schreiber & Chao LLP is here to help, so please contact us today. 

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