My boss left me no choice but to quit my job. Now I don’t get a severance package or unemployment benefits. Do I have any legal options in Los Angeles?

I’m sorry to hear about your situation. For most people who suffer a layoff, there are benefits available to help. However, for employees who quit their jobs, typically help is not available. This can lead to employees suffering under terrible working conditions until they cannot tolerate the job anymore and quit.

It is not uncommon for employers who want an employee to quit to purposely make the working environment miserable. They do this in the hopes that the employee will just quit, and they then do not have to pay unemployment compensation, a severance package, or other benefits. The employer also may not legally be able to fire the employee. The employee could have an employment contract that prohibits the employer from terminating him or her.

When an employer makes a job so miserable that the employee basically has few choices but to quit, the employee may be able to show that a “constructive discharge” occurred. Under California law, a constructive discharge occurs when an employee proves that the employer either intentionally created or knowingly permitted working conditions that were so intolerable or aggravated that a reasonable employer would realize that a reasonable person in the employee’s position would be compelled to resign. In order to show that a constructive discharge has occurred, an employee has to prove that the working environment was intolerable – not simply that insignificant grievances existed or that there were small changes in the job duties. Some examples of behavior that would probably constitute a constructive discharge by an employee include humiliating behavior, emotional or physical intimidation, or another type of harassment.

If an employee can show that he or she was constructively discharged, the employee may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, lost benefits, as well as emotional pain and suffering. If you believe you have been constructively discharged in the Los Angeles area, call Los Angeles employment law attorney at 310-385-0567. He can help. Call today to learn more or to schedule your free consultation.