Sometimes an employer knows it is wrong to fire an employee, so the employer makes the employee so miserable that the employee has no other choice but to quit. In those cases, the employer has constructively terminated the employee. The law treats employees who have been constructively terminated as though they had been fired even though they quit.
“[C]onstructive discharge occurs only when an employer terminates employment by forcing the employee to resign. A constructive discharge is equivalent to a dismissal, although it is accomplished indirectly. Constructive discharge occurs only when the employer coerces the employee’s resignation, either by creating working conditions that are intolerable under an objective standard, or by failing to remedy objectively intolerable working conditions that actually are known to the employer. We have said ‘a constructive discharge is legally regarded as a firing rather than a resignation.’ ”
(Mullins v. Rockwell Internat. Corp. (1997) 15 Cal.4th 731, 737, internal citations omitted.)