HR Glossary
Constructive Discharge

Constructive Discharge

Updated on:
August 23, 2022


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

green check mark symbol
Fact Checked

Content is reviewed to provide accurate, clear, and reliable information. Learn about our editorial process

Table of Content

What Is Constructive Discharge?

A discharge in a constructive sense occurs when an employee terminates his employment in such a way that he can no longer be considered an employee. Generally, an employee who quits and quits on good terms is not a constructive discharge.

Legally, a constructive discharge occurs when an employee is terminated in a way that he or she no longer considers himself or herself an employee. This process typically occurs as a result of an employee receiving poor treatment at work. This type of treatment includes abusive language, sexual harassment, and unfair work conditions.


What is Fair Constructive Discharge?

 A discharge that is considered fair in that it is reasonably related to the circumstances under which it arose.

Employers know that occasionally employees are terminated before the end of their natural employment term. The discharge may be the result of events over which the employer had no control, such as illness, accidents, or termination for misconduct.

An employer may also decide to terminate an employee for convenience or because of economic factors. But because the employee’s termination was not related to any misconduct, the employer must still treat the employee fairly.

Constructive discharge is necessary in order to protect employees from being forced to work in an environment that is so intolerable that it amounts to a breach of the contract of employment. This type of discharge also allows employees to pursue legal action if they believe they have been constructively discharged.