For many people in California, going to work is not something they spend time worrying about. However, if your employment situation makes you miserable, and you are not bound by a contract, you may be weighing whether quitting your job is necessary for your peace of mind. At Anticouni & Ricotta, we understand that employers may take extreme steps to avoid the appearance of breaking the law while still engaging in unethical and illegal practices.
At-will employment allows your employer to fire you at any time, as long as there is no employment contract and the termination is not because of discrimination or retaliation. However, some employers have been known to use an illegal tactic known as constructive dismissal to get rid of a worker without firing him or her.
According to FindLaw, if you quit your job voluntarily because your employer has intentionally made your working conditions intolerable, you may have a wrongful constructive dismissal claim. You have the burden of proof in this type of case, and you will need to provide evidence of two things. First, you must show that any reasonable worker would have resigned under conditions that uncommonly bad. Second, you must demonstrate that your employer knew about the adverse conditions, or that he or she was using them to compel you to quit. Simply showing that you suffered this outrageous conduct once would not be sufficient. Rather, it must be an ongoing issue, or else a pattern of the behavior toward you must be evident.
The courts will typically want to know what you did about the behavior before you quit. For example, you may want to show that you followed the company’s procedures for dealing with the circumstances, which may include talking to your supervisor, filing a grievance or attending mediation. If you followed the required protocol and nothing was done, or if your employer gave you duties that were illegal, your situation may have been too difficult for anyone to tolerate. More information about illegal firing methods is available on our webpage.