What is a Constructive Discharge?

Unpleasant work environments and difficult coworkers are common reasons why many employees choose to leave their workplaces. Of course, everyone wants to feel comfortable and respected in the workplace, and when this isn’t possible, some might feel like they have no choice but to leave. In most cases, employers can terminate an employee for any reason at any time and employees can choose to leave at any time.

However, there are some limitations to at-will employment. Employment discrimination is illegal in all aspects of employment, including terminating employees, which is true even for those with at-will employment.

When the discrimination or harassment you experience at work causes you to want to leave, it may be considered a constructive discharge. Learn more about what this means and how you can get help.

What Constitutes a Constructive Discharge?

Although the employee may have quit, constructive discharges are not considered to be voluntary. Constructive discharges are typically treated like terminations, although the employee is the one who took the steps to end their employment. Work environments that lead to constructive discharge leave the employee with no choice but to leave due to the intolerable working conditions the employer was aware of and continued to allow. This can be seen as forcing the employee out rather than actually terminating the employee themselves.

A constructive discharge involves much more than an employee being unhappy at work. Conditions in these situations must be so objectively intolerable that any reasonable employee would be compelled to leave due to unlawful employment practices. Even if an employee resigns, if they were forced out due to unlawful employment practices, they may be able to take action against their employer.

Showing that you experienced a constructive discharge due to unlawful employment practices can be challenging. However, you deserve to get justice just like any other employee whose employer has violated their rights. An employee rights attorney can help determine if you have a case and prove that you were wrongfully terminated.

Discrimination and Harassement

Employees have the right to be free of harassment and discrimination based on membership in a protected class. When discrimination or harassment gets so extreme that an employee no longer feels that they can stay at a company, they may be forced into resigning.


In addition to discrimination and harassment, some employees may face adverse employment actions for exercising their right to engage in protected activity. This may progress to the point where an employee can no longer tolerate it and must leave the company.

Forced Out of Your Job? Contact Bantle & Levy

Unfortunately, some employees may feel that the only way to protect themselves from unlawful employment actions is to resign. If you were forced out of your position, don’t let your employer get away with violating your rights. This is a difficult situation to be in, but Bantle & Levy can help. We have the knowledge, experience, and resources that complex employment law cases like these require.

Even if you resigned, don’t assume that there’s nothing you can do to get justice for your experiences. Contact us to discuss your situation today.

Bantle & Levy

Lee Bantle is a partner at Bantle & Levy LLP. He has extensive legal expertise, admitted to the bars of the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals. With a distinguished academic background and clerkship experience, he has been recognized as a top-rated civil rights attorney and esteemed lawyer. In addition to his successful career, he has actively contributed to various legal organizations and serves as a faculty member for NYU's Annual Workshop on Employment Law for Federal Judges.

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