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Irvine Constructive Discharge Lawyer

It is not unusual for someone to quit their job out of frustration with their boss or working conditions. In most cases this situation does not create any sort of legal claim. After all, California is an “at-will” employment state, so either the employer or employee can end the employment relationship at any time with or without cause.

But if an employee is forced to quit because their employer creates or knowingly tolerates an intolerable condition that falls within an exception to the at-will rule, then that worker could have a claim for wrongful discharge under California law. If you are in such a situation, the experienced Irvine constructive discharge lawyers at The Garza Firm can review your case and advise you of your legal options for seeking compensation and other damages.

When Can You Sue for Being Forced to Quit?

A wrongful constructive discharge (or constructive termination) claim basically means two things must be proven:

  • The employer intentionally or knowingly created working conditions that were so intolerable that the employee effectively had no choice but to quit; and
  • The employer could not have simply fired the employee outright without facing a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Essentially, if your employer simply gives you bad assignments because they do not like you and hope you will quit, that alone is not proof of a wrongful constructive discharge. But if your employer wanted you to quit because you belong to a legally protected class–say you are a woman–then that would be a wrongful constructive discharge. This is because an employer cannot terminate an at-will employee on the basis of sex. Similarly, an employer cannot create intolerable working conditions in retaliation for an employee exercising a legally protected right, such as filing for workers’ compensation benefits or filing a complaint regarding workplace discrimination.

Under California law, an employee must also prove that a “reasonable employer” would realize that a “reasonable person” in the employee’s position would feel that they had no choice but to resign in response to the intolerable working conditions. This is often a high bar. Again, it is not enough to show working conditions were bad. They must be so bad that no reasonable person would feel they had any other choice except to quit.

And as the name suggests, constructive discharge implies that you have actually quit your job in response to the intolerable conditions. It is possible to still sue for wrongful discharge in California if you decide to stay in your job for some time in response to the conditions. But the longer you wait, the less likely you are to prevail should you file a lawsuit.

Contact The Garza Firm Today

As with all civil claims, there is a statute of limitations for bringing a wrongful constructive discharge lawsuit in California, typically two or three years depending on the specific facts. So it is imperative that you not wait to consult with a skilled Irvine constructive discharge lawyer if you think you may have a case. Contact The Garza Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team.

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