Victims of workplace abuse often seek to escape their tormentors by quitting their job. While quitting one’s job to escape a hostile work environment has the obvious advantage of putting an end to the abuse and mistreatment, it does come at a price. The one obvious downside of quitting a job is the loss of one’s ability to provide for themselves or their families. Let’s face it: in today’s economic climate the prospect of being unemployed is scary. However, there are other less obvious downsides which one should consider. Quitting one’s job makes it more difficult, and sometimes impossible, to sue the employer. The law does not allow an employee to simply quit his/her job then sue for wrongful termination. The law recognizes, however, that in certain situations, even if the employee is the one who technically leaves the employment relationship, it is really the employer who forced the employee to quit or resign.
Constructive discharge occurs when employer’s conduct effectively forces an employee to resign and is legally regarded as a firing rather than a resignation. But in order to amount to constructive discharge, adverse working conditions must be intolerable. To establish constructive discharge, the employee must prove that the employer either intentionally created or knowingly permitted working conditions that were so intolerable or aggravated at time of resignation that the reasonable employer would realize that any reasonable person in the employee’s shoes would be compelled to resign. Needless to say, this is not an easy task.
Without question, in some cases, the best plan of action is to immediately leave the toxic work environment. However, if any legal action is contemplated, quitting one’s job may not be the best plan. Needless to say, every situation is unique and should be analyzed specifically and individually. An employee who is thinking of quitting his/her job should consult an employment attorney to find out more about his/her rights. The employment laws are complex, and it is critical to have a qualified attorney help you through the process.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is not legal advice. The Akopyan Law Firm does not provide legal advice unless and until it is formally retained, and an attorney-client contract is signed. Each case is unique. The laws may or may not apply to your particular situation. This should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions may have laws and regulations that differ substantially from one another. The Akopyan Law Firm does not provide legal services or practice law outside of the State of California. You should always consult an attorney in your jurisdiction regarding any specific legal issue.