In the seminal case of Turner v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc. (1994) 7 Cal.4th 1238, 1244–1245, the California Supreme Court explained that “constructive discharge occurs when the employer’s conduct effectively forces an employee to resign. Although the employee may say, “I quit,” the employment relationship is actually severed involuntarily by the employer’s acts, against the employee’s will. As a result, a constructive discharge is legally regarded as a firing rather than a resignation.”

The Court went on to explain that “an employee cannot simply “quit and sue,” claiming he or she was constructively discharged. The conditions giving rise to the resignation must be sufficiently extraordinary and egregious to overcome the normal motivation of a competent, diligent, and reasonable employee to remain on the job to earn a livelihood and to serve his or her employer.” Turner v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc. (1994) 7 Cal.4th 1238, 1246.

Proving Constructive Discharge

To establish a constructive discharge claim, an employee must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the employer either intentionally created or knowingly permitted working conditions that were so intolerable or aggravated at the time of the employee’s resignation that a reasonable employer would realize that a reasonable person in the employee’s position would be compelled to resign.

In determining whether a reasonable employee would feel compelled to resign, courts consider such factors as:

  • demotion;
  • reduction in salary;
  • reduction in job responsibilities;
  • reassignment to menial or degrading work;
  • reassignment to work under a younger or more junior supervisor;
  • badgering, harassment, or humiliation by the employer calculated to encourage the employee to resign;
  • offers of early retirement or continued employment on terms less favorable than the employee’s former status

Questions about Constructive Dismissal? Contact Akopyan Law Firm A.P.C. for Advice

When in doubt, always contact a legal professional. Akopyan Law Firm A.P.C. practices employment law in Southern California. We are known for our aggressive, experienced approach to the pursuit of justice for our clients. Contact Akopyan Law Firm A.P.C. We offer complimentary case evaluation and contingency fee services and are proud of our case results and testimonials. Read more about the types of dismissal.