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Jul. 10, 2024

Deconstructing constructive discharge

A court must find that the employer intentionally created or knowingly permitted working conditions to exist that were so intolerable that a reasonable person in the plaintiff’s position would have had no reasonable alternative except to resign. Constructive discharge can constitute the adverse employment action required to establish a FEHA violation for discrimination or retaliation.


When an employee quits his or her job, that action might not have been a personal choice. Like a suspect's forced confession, a resignation may have been compelled rather than voluntary. A court might conclude that the worker had no real choice but to walk out the door.

"Constructive discharge" essentially shifts responsibility for a worker's resignation onto the employer. When work conditions become sufficiently intolerable and the emplo...

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