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Understanding constructive dismissal

Many people assume that wrongful termination cases only apply when they are directly terminated from their job. As a result, when their working conditions deteriorate so significantly that they resign, they fail to consider the potential for wrongful termination. Constructive dismissal is a form of wrongful termination in which the employee has working conditions so intolerable that they resign.

There are a few components that combine to prove constructive dismissal.


The first factor to consider with a potential constructive dismissal case is reasonability. Evaluate the situation that drove you to resign. Would a reasonable person consider that situation intolerable? If a reasonable individual unrelated to the situation would consider the working conditions adverse and unacceptable, that adds merit to the case.


Even though a working situation is unreasonable and intolerable, your employer must know about the situation for it to qualify as constructive dismissal. Gather any evidence you have that proves your employer’s awareness and intention to create a hostile workplace in an effort to force your resignation.


California is an at-will employment state, making it more difficult to claim wrongful termination. You must prove some level of discrimination or unlawful behavior for your claim to qualify as constructive dismissal. The more evidence you have, the easier it is to prove your case.

Accountability is important for employers violating discrimination laws, even if they do not terminate your employment. When you find yourself forced into resigning from your job, consider whether your employer has left you with a constructive dismissal case.