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Constructive Termination

Constructive Termination Due to Retaliation in California

At our employment and labor law firm, we are dedicated to defending the rights of employees who experience constructive termination due to retaliation. Constructive termination, also known as constructive discharge, occurs when an employee is forced to resign due to intolerable working conditions created by their employer, often as a form of retaliation for engaging in legally protected activities. This detailed guide aims to explain your rights in relation to constructive termination as a result of retaliation and outline the steps you can take if your employer violates these rights.

What is Constructive Termination?

Constructive termination happens when an employee’s working conditions become so unbearable that a reasonable person in the same situation would feel compelled to resign. This form of termination is considered involuntary, as it results from the employer’s actions or failure to act. In cases of retaliation, constructive termination occurs when an employer creates or allows a hostile work environment as punishment for the employee’s legally protected activities.

Understanding Retaliation and Protected Activities

Retaliation involves any adverse action taken by an employer against an employee for participating in activities protected by law. These activities can include:

  • Filing a Complaint: Reporting workplace discrimination, harassment, or safety violations.

  • Participating in Investigations: Cooperating with internal or external investigations into workplace misconduct.

  • Whistleblowing: Reporting illegal activities or unethical practices to authorities.

  • Requesting Accommodations: Seeking reasonable accommodations for disabilities or religious practices.

  • Taking Leave: Utilizing family or medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or California Family Rights Act (CFRA).

Recognizing Constructive Termination Due to Retaliation

Constructive termination due to retaliation can manifest in various ways. It is crucial to recognize the signs and understand your rights. Common indicators include:

  • Hostile Work Environment: Experiencing pervasive and severe harassment or discriminatory behavior that makes the workplace intolerable.

  • Unwarranted Disciplinary Actions: Facing unjustified write-ups, demotions, or negative performance reviews as a form of punishment.

  • Isolation or Exclusion: Being intentionally isolated from colleagues, excluded from meetings, or denied access to necessary resources.

  • Significant Changes in Job Duties: Experiencing drastic and unreasonable changes to job responsibilities or work location.

  • Reduction in Pay or Hours: Facing unjustified reductions in salary or work hours.

Employee Rights Under California Law

In California, employees are protected from retaliation and constructive termination under several laws:

California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

Provides protections against workplace discrimination and retaliation.

California Labor Code Section 1102.5

Protects employees who report violations of state or federal laws from retaliation.

Whistleblower Protections

Safeguards employees who report illegal activities to authorities.

Family and Medical Leave Laws

FMLA and CFRA protect employees from retaliation for taking legally entitled leave.

What to Do If You Experience Constructive Termination

If you believe you have been constructively terminated due to retaliation, it is essential to take action to protect your rights:

Document Everything

Keep detailed records of all relevant interactions and adverse actions. Collect emails, text messages, performance reviews, and witness statements that support your claims.

Report the Retaliation

File a complaint with your employer’s human resources department or follow the company’s internal grievance procedures.

File a Complaint with the CRD

The California Civil Rights Department (CRD) handles complaints of retaliation and constructive termination. Filing a complaint with the CRD is a prerequisite for pursuing a lawsuit.

Seek Legal Advice

Consult with an experienced employment and labor law attorney to evaluate your case and determine the best course of action.

How We Can Help

Our experienced employment and labor law attorneys are committed to advocating for employees' rights and providing comprehensive legal support. We understand the complexities of constructive termination cases involving retaliation and the significant impact that such actions can have on your career and personal life. We are here to provide the support and legal expertise you need.

We offer a comprehensive range of services to support employees facing constructive termination due to retaliation, including:

Case Evaluation

Conducting a thorough assessment of your situation to determine the best legal strategy.

Legal Representation

Representing you in negotiations, administrative proceedings, and court if necessary.


Advocating for fair treatment and compliance with anti-retaliation laws in your workplace.

Legal Remedies for Constructive Termination

If your constructive termination case due to retaliation is successful, you may be entitled to various legal remedies, including:

Back Pay

Compensation for lost wages and benefits from the time of the adverse action to the resolution of your case.

Front Pay

Compensation for lost wages and benefits from the resolution of your case until you find comparable employment.

Compensatory Damages

Compensation for emotional distress, pain and suffering, and other non-economic damages.

Punitive Damages

Additional damages intended to punish the employer for particularly egregious conduct.

Attorney’s Fees and Costs

Reimbursement for legal expenses incurred in pursuing your case. You don't pay unless we win.

Contact Us

If you believe you have been constructively terminated due to retaliation, we are here to help. Contact our firm today for a free consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Together, we can fight for your rights and ensure that you receive the justice and fair treatment you deserve.

Understanding and protecting your rights against constructive termination due to retaliation is crucial for your career and personal well-being. Let us stand with you in your pursuit of justice and ensure that your rights are fully protected.

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