Plaintiff James M. Turner asserts he was forced by his employer, defendant Anheuser Busch, Inc. (ABI), to quit his job after he complained of ABI’s alleged illegal activity. Although ABI prevailed on summary judgment in the trial court, Turner persuaded the Court of Appeal to reinstate his claim. We now consider the elements of a cause of action for constructive wrongful discharge in violation of fundamental public policy. Applying those elements, we discern no material issue of fact and no legal foundation for Turner’s case. We therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeal and direct summary judgment in favor of ABI.
I. Facts and Procedural History
Turner worked at ABI’s Los Angeles brewery as an industrial relations manager for approximately six years, until his voluntary resignation in 1981. In January 1984, Turner returned to work for ABI at its wholesale operations division in Riverside.
Turner’s initial position at the Riverside division was “branch off-premises coordinator” in the sales department. As such, he was responsible for coordinating sales activities with retailers who sold ABI products off-sale, i.e., for consumption away from the retailers’ premises. Turner’s immediate supervisor was William Schmitt. Schmitt’s supervisor was George Liakos.
In May 1985, Turner was reassigned to the position of “assistant supervisor route sales.” He retained the same salary and level of responsibility. In his new position, Turner no longer reported to Schmitt. In January 1986, Schmitt was transferred to St. Louis, Missouri.
With one exception, Turner received overall “good” ratings on written performance evaluations between June 1984 and November 1987. (He received a “needs improvement” rating in December 1984.) On his December *124428, 1988, evaluation, however, Turner received a “needs improvement” rating. On that day, Turner met with ABI supervisors who, citing specific incidents, alleged that Turner’s job performance had deteriorated. Turner denied that charge and criticized the supervisors’ decision to wait until the meeting to complain of the particular incidents, rather than discussing them at the time of their occurrence.
On January 3, 1989, Turner tendered a letter of resignation to ABI, effective February 1, 1989. After his departure, Turner filed suit against ABI and certain individuals, alleging causes of action for age discrimination, constructive wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, breach of contract, and both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The individual defendants were dismissed in various pretrial proceedings. Turner’s emotional distress claims were dismissed on ABI’s motion for judgment on the pleadings; he voluntarily dismissed his claim for age discrimination. ABI then obtained summary judgment on the breach of contract and public policy claims.
The Court of Appeal affirmed the summary judgment as to the contract claim, but reversed on the public policy claim. It held that the “cumulative effect” of the “long list of alleged actions [by ABI] and [workplace] conditions” established a triable case of constructive wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. We granted ABI’s petition for review.
A. The Governing Law
Employment relationships are generally terminated by resignation or discharge. (Lab. Code, § 2922.) An employee voluntarily severs the relationship by resignation; the employer does so by actual discharge. (Ibid.)
Actual discharge carries significant legal consequences for employers, including possible liability for wrongful discharge. In an attempt to avoid liability, an employer may refrain from actually firing an employee, preferring instead to engage in conduct causing him or her to quit. The doctrine of constructive discharge addresses such employer-attempted “end runs” around wrongful discharge and other claims requiring employer-initiated terminations of employment.
(1) Constructive Discharge
Constructive discharge occurs when the employer’s conduct effectively forces an employee to resign. Although the employee may say, “I *1245quit,” the employment relationship is actually severed involuntarily by the employer’s acts, against the employee’s will. As a result, a constructive discharge is legally regarded as a firing rather than a resignation. (Zilmer v. Carnation Co. (1989) 215 Cal.App.3d 29, 38-39 [263 Cal.Rptr. 422] [hereafter Zilmer].)
We have not previously addressed what an employee must prove to establish a constructive discharge. The Courts of Appeal have devised and applied the following test for constructive discharge: “[A]n employee who is forced to resign due to actions and conditions so intolerable or aggravated at the time of his resignation that a reasonable person in the employee’s position would have resigned, and whose employer had actual or constructive knowledge of the intolerable actions and conditions and of their impact upon the employee and could have remedied the situation, but did not, is constructively discharged.” (Zilmer, supra, 215 Cal.App.3d at p. 38; see also Brady v. Elixir Industries (1987) 196 Cal.App.3d 1299, 1306 [242 Cal.Rptr. 324] [hereafter Brady].)
Three areas of inquiry are suggested by the proffered test: (1) what kinds of actions or conditions are sufficient to convert what is ostensibly a voluntary quit into a discharge; (2) whether the impact of those actions and conditions is measured by a subjective (impact on this particular employee) test or an objective (impact on a hypothetical reasonable employee) test; and (3) what level of employer knowledge or intent regarding those actions or conditions should be required to achieve a discharge. We will consider these questions in light of the case law concerning constructive discharge.
The doctrine of constructive discharge was first recognized in federal cases brought under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Under section 8(a)(3) of the NLRA, it is “an unfair labor practice for an employer ... by discrimination ... to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization . . . .” (29 U.S.C. § 158(a)(3).) Approving decisions of the National Labor Relations Board and lower courts, the United States Supreme Court has held that “an employer violates [§ 8(a)(3)] not only when, for the purpose of discouraging union activity, it directly dismisses an employee, but also when it purposefully creates working conditions so intolerable that the employee has no option but to resign—a so-called ‘constructive discharge.' ” (Sure-Tan, Inc. v. NLRB (1984) 467 U.S. 883, 894 [81 L.Ed.2d 732, 744, 104 S.Ct. 2803], italics added.)
The federal courts have also applied constructive discharge in employment discrimination cases under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000e) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (29 *1246U.S.C. §§ 621-634; ADEA). Some federal cases have required “deliberate” conduct by an employer creating conditions so aggravated or intolerable that a reasonable person in the employee’s position would have felt compelled to resign.1 The federal Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has gone further, requiring proof of an employer’s express intent to cause an employee to resign. (Bristow v. Daily Press, Inc. (4th Cir. 1985) 770 F.2d 1251, 1255, cert. den. (1986) 475 U.S. 1082 [89 L.Ed.2d 718, 106 S.Ct. 1461].)
In contrast, the Ninth Circuit’s formulation of constructive discharge makes no reference to employer knowledge or intent, but provides instead that “[a] constructive discharge occurs when, looking at the totality of circumstances, ‘a reasonable person in [the employee’s] position would have felt that he was forced to quit because of intolerable and discriminatory working conditions.’ ” (Watson v. Nationwide Ins. Co. (9th Cir. 1987) 823 F.2d 360, 361, quoting Satterwhite v. Smith (9th Cir. 1984) 744 F.2d 1380, 1381.)2 State court cases in discrimination and wrongful discharge contexts have generally followed the lead of the federal courts. (See, e.g., Slack v. Kanawha County Housing [hereafter Slack] (1992) 188 W.Va. 155 [423 S.E.2d 547] [collecting and analyzing state and federal cases]; Beye v. Bureau of National Affairs [hereafter Beye] (1984) 59 Md.App. 642 [477 A.2d 1197], cert. den. (1984) 301 Md. 639 [484 A.2d 274].)
a. Intolerable Conditions
Under the cases, an employee cannot simply “quit and sue,” claiming he or she was constructively discharged. The conditions giving rise to the resignation must be sufficiently extraordinary and egregious to overcome the normal motivation of a competent, diligent, and reasonable employee to remain on the job to earn a livelihood and to serve his or her employer. The proper focus is on whether the resignation was coerced, not whether it was simply one rational option for the employee.
*1247“ ‘An employee may not be unreasonably sensitive to his [or her] working environment .... Every job has its frustrations, challenges, and disappointments; these inhere in the nature of work. An employee is protected from . . . unreasonably harsh conditions, in excess of those faced by his [or her] co-workers. He [or she] is not, however, guaranteed a working environment free of stress.’ ” (Goldsmith v. Mayor and City of Baltimore (4th Cir. 1993) 987 F.2d 1064, 1072.)
In order to amount to a constructive discharge, adverse working conditions must be unusually “aggravated” or amount to a “continuous pattern” before the situation will be deemed intolerable.3 In general, “[s]ingle, trivial, or isolated acts of [misconduct] are insufficient” to support a constructive discharge claim. (Silver, Public Employee Discharge and Discipline (1989) § 1.5, p. 1-13.) Moreover, a poor performance rating or a demotion, even when accompanied by reduction in pay, does not by itself trigger a constructive discharge.4
“There appears to be no disagreement [in the cases] that one of the essential elements of any constructive discharge claim is that the adverse working conditions must be so intolerable that any reasonable employee would resign rather than endure such conditions.” (Slack, supra, 423 S.E.2d at p. 556.)
Various terms such as “intolerable” or “aggravated” have been used to describe the subnormal character of the working conditions required to establish constructive discharge. (Slack, supra, 423 S.E.2d at p. 556; see also Zilmer, supra, 215 Cal.App.3d at p. 38; Brady, supra, 196 Cal.App.3d at p. 1306.) The essence of the test is whether, under all the circumstances, the working conditions are so unusually adverse that a reasonable employee in plaintiff’s position “‘“would have felt compelled to resign.”’” (Slack, supra, 423 S.E.2d at p. 556, quoting Calhoun v. Acme Cleveland Corp. (1st Cir. 1986) 798 F.2d 559, 561.)
*1248b. An Objective Standard
As the citations and quotations in the previous section reveal, the cases are in agreement that the standard by which a constructive discharge is determined is an objective one—the question is “whether a reasonable person faced with the allegedly intolerable employer actions or conditions of employment would have no reasonable alternative except to quit.” (Rochlis v. Walt Disney Co. (1993) 19 Cal.App.4th 201, 212 [23 Cal.Rptr.2d 793] [hereafter Rochlis], citing Brady, supra, 196 Cal.App.3d at p. 1306 and Lojek v. Thomas (9th Cir. 1983) 716 F.2d 675, 681.)5
c. Employer Knowledge and Intent
A constructive discharge is the practical and legal equivalent of a dismissal—the employee’s resignation must be employer-coetceá, not caused by the voluntary action of the employee or by conditions or matters beyond the employer’s reasonable control.
In Brady, the Court of Appeal concluded that a majority of other courts had declined to impose a requirement of express employer intent in constructive discharge cases and adopted instead an element mandating only the employer’s “actual or constructive knowledge of the intolerable actions and of their impact on the employee” in a situation the employer “could have remedied.” (Brady, supra, 196 Cal.App.3d at p. 1306, italics added.) The Brady court did not define the term “constructive knowledge,” but observed that its goal in developing a test for constructive discharge was “to insure that a peaceful on-the-job resolution has been attempted or was futile.” (Ibid.)
From our review of the cases, we conclude that Brady's test is inadequate to the extent it allows a claim for wrongful discharge on a finding that the employer had mere constructive knowledge of the intolerable conditions leading to án employee’s resignation, because such a test does not further the Brady court’s goal of insuring corrective measures will be attempted before a lawsuit is required. Although the majority of courts have declined to join the Fourth Circuit in requiring an employer’s express intent to force an employee to leave, they have generally demanded that the “intolerable conditions” causing a constructive discharge be expressly “created by or *1249known to the employer.” (Slack, supra, 423 S.E.2d at p. 558.) Thus, an employer’s intent to create or purposefully maintain working conditions that are intolerable from the standpoint of a reasonable employee has been deemed sufficient for a constructive discharge because it insures the claim is employer-coerced. An employer’s actual knowledge of the existence of such conditions, and subsequent failure to remedy them, may constitute circumstantial evidence that the employer deliberately forced the employee to resign.
For example, in Goss v. Exxon Office Systems Co. (3d Cir. 1984) 747 F.2d 885, 888, the court stated: “[N]o finding of an [express] intent on the part of the employer to bring about a discharge is required for the application of the constructive discharge doctrine. The court need merely find that the employer knowingly permitted conditions of discrimination in employment so intolerable that a reasonable person subject to them would resign.” (Italics added.)
And in Beye, the court emphasized that although an “express intent” was not necessary in constructive discharge cases: “It suffices if the employer’s actions were deliberate, or, in cases of harassment by supervisors or fellow employees, if the employer was aware of the situation and permitted it to continue.'' (Beye, supra, 477 A.2d at p. 1202, italics added.)
Finally, following a comprehensive review of the state and federal cases, the West Virginia Supreme Court adopted the “majority view” that “in order to prove a constructive discharge, a plaintiff must establish that working conditions created by or known to the employer were so intolerable that a reasonable person would be compelled to quit. It is not necessary, however, that a plaintiff prove that the employer’s actions were taken with [an express] intent to cause the plaintiff to quit.” (Slack, supra, 423 S.E.2d at p. 558, italics added.)
An employer’s intent to cause a resignation will rarely be revealed by direct evidence. Self-interest will most often prevent an employer from announcing a constructive discharge strategy from the rooftops. An express intent requirement might unduly focus the trier of fact’s attention on the presence or absence of direct evidence. But we see no reason why a standard requiring the employer’s actual (rather than mere constructive) knowledge of the intolerable conditions would do so. Such a standard serves to emphasize a central aspect of constructive discharge law—the resignation must be employer-caused and against the employee’s will. Consistent with this principle, the employer must either deliberately create the intolerable working conditions that trigger the resignation or, at a minimum, must know about *1250them and fail to remedy the situation in order to force the employee to resign.
The dissent of Justice Kennard rejects our modification of the Brady test, claiming that our actual knowledge test “leaves the employer free to turn a blind eye to blatant and pervasive workplace abuses and to discourage or refuse to entertain employee complaints about intolerable workplace conditions and then claim a lack of actual knowledge of the intolerable conditions as a complete defense to a wrongful discharge action.” (Dis. opn., post, at p. 1260.) This is a highly exaggerated and unlikely situation that even the dissent admits is not supported by any examples of cases from the majority of jurisdictions that have adopted the identical actual knowledge test for constructive discharge claims. The dissent simply confuses constructive knowledge, which the Brady court left undefined, with constructive discharge which, as most courts hold, requires proof that the employer created or knowingly permitted the intolerable conditions to persist. (See, e.g., Goss v. Exxon Office Systems Co., supra, 747 F.2d at p. 888.)
By providing that a wrongful discharge claim may prevail only if an employee can show the employer, or those representing the employer, either created or knowingly permitted working conditions to remain intolerable, it should be easier for plaintiffs to prove their case in the situation hypothesized by the dissent—i.e., where an employer is either unavailable or refuses to acknowledge that the intolerable conditions exist. (Dis. opn. post, at p. 1260.) By requiring employees to notify someone in a position of authority of their plight, we permit employers unaware of any wrongdoing to correct a potentially destructive situation, and we prevent employers from shielding themselves from constructive discharge lawsuits simply by deliberately ignoring a situation that has become intolerable to a reasonable employee. Indeed, our test furthers the Brady court’s stated goal that a constructive discharge test should encourage an employer to take corrective action if notified of the intolerable working conditions. (Brady, supra, 196 Cal.App.3d at p. 1306.) As a matter of policy, therefore, our holding requiring the employer (or its agent) either to have created or knowingly permitted the intolerable conditions to exist, encourages early resolution of the employee complaint and, contrary to the dissent, discourages employer inaction.
Finally, the dissent’s unnecessary concern over a purely hypothetical situation is aggravated by its reliance on federal circuit court cases that either support our actual knowledge test for constructive discharge cases or focus exclusively on title VII (or its equivalent under title IX) sexual harassment causes of action. (Compare Paroline v. Unisys Corp. (4th Cir. *12511989) 879 F.2d 100 [constructive discharge in sexual harassment case under title VII occurs only when employer deliberately makes work conditions intolerable in an effort to induce employee to quit] with Ellison v. Brady (9th Cir. 1991) 924 F.2d 872, 880 [title VII claim for sexual harassment is not a fault-based tort claim].) Thus, even though sexual harassment claims sometimes are considered within the context of constructive discharge allegations, the focus in a constructive discharge case is the employer’s knowledge and conduct in forcing the employee to resign in light of the intolerable working conditions. (Ibid.) In criticizing our modification of the Brady test, therefore, the dissent simply strains to create a point of departure where none exists.
The considerations discussed above lead us to modify the elements of constructive discharge in the Brady line of cases. In order to establish a constructive discharge, an employee must plead and prove, by the usual preponderance of the evidence standard, that the employer either intentionally created or knowingly permitted working conditions that were so intolerable or aggravated at the time of the employee’s resignation that a reasonable employer would realize that a reasonable person in the employee’s position would be compelled to resign.
For purposes of this standard, the requisite knowledge or intent must exist on the part of either the employer or those persons who effectively represent the employer, i.e., its officers, directors, managing agents, or supervisory employees.
To the extent it is inconsistent with these elements in that it requires mere constructive knowledge of the intolerable conditions leading to the employee’s resignation, the Brady line of cases is disapproved. (See, e.g., Brady, supra, 196 Cal.App.3d at p. 1306; Zilmer, supra, 215 Cal.App.3d at p. 38; Soules, supra, 2 Cal.App.4th at pp. 399-400; Rochlis, supra, 19 Cal.App.4th at p. 212.)
(2) Wrongful Discharge in Violation of Public Policy
Standing alone, constructive discharge is neither a tort nor a breach of contract, but a doctrine that transforms what is ostensibly a resignation into a firing. Even after establishing constructive discharge, an employee must independently prove a breach of contract or tort in connection with employment termination in order to obtain damages for wrongful discharge. (Soules, supra, 2 Cal.App.4th at pp. 399-400.)
An employee may prove, for example, that a constructive discharge is a breach of an express or implied contract of employment. In the absence of an *1252express or implied agreement to the contrary, an employment relationship without a fixed term is presumed to be validly terminable at the will of either party, employer or employee, at any time. (Lab. Code, § 2922; Foley v. Interactive Data Corp. (1988) 47 Cal.3d 654, 675-682 [254 Cal.Rptr. 211, 765 P.2d 373] [hereafter Foley].) However: “In the employment context, factors apart from consideration and express terms may be used to ascertain the existence and content of an employment agreement, including ‘the personnel policies or practices of the employer, the employee’s longevity of service, actions or communications by the employer reflecting assurances of continued employment, and the practices of the industry in which the employee is engaged.’ ” (Id. at p. 680.)
Thus, a constructive discharge may, in particular circumstances, amount to breach of an employer’s express or implied agreement not to terminate except in accordance with specified procedures or without good cause. (Soules, supra, 2 Cal.App.4th at pp. 399-400.)
Apart from the terms of an express or implied employment contract, an employer has no right to terminate employment for a reason that contravenes fundamental public policy as expressed in a constitutional or statutory provision. (Gantt v. Sentry Insurance (1992) 1 Cal.4th 1083, 1094-1095 [4 Cal.Rptr.2d 874, 824 P.2d 680] [hereafter Gantt].) An actual or constructive discharge in violation of fundamental public policy gives rise to a tort action in favor of the terminated employee. (Foley, supra, 47 Cal.3d at pp. 665-671; Tameny v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (1980) 27 Cal.3d 167, 178 [164 Cal.Rptr. 839, 610 P.2d 1330, 9 A.L.R.4th 314] [hereafter Tameny].)
(3) Summary Judgment
This case arises from a Court of Appeal decision reversing a summary judgment in ABI’s favor. Like other civil causes of action, wrongful discharge claims arising in contract or in tort may be susceptible of pretrial disposition on motions for summary judgment. (Soules, supra, 2 Cal.App.4th at p. 398.) Summary judgment must be granted when the moving party’s evidence is sufficient to sustain a judgment in its favor and the opposing party does not present evidence raising a triable issue of material fact. (Ibid.)
In reviewing a ruling on a motion for summary judgment, an appellate court (1) “identif[ies] the issues framed by the pleadings,” (2) “determine[s] whether the moving party’s showing has established facts which negate the opponent’s claim and justify a judgment in movant’s favor,” and (3) “[w]hen a summary judgment motion prima facie justifies a judgment, . . . determinéis] whether the opposition demonstrates the existence of a triable, *1253material factual issue.” (AARTS Productions, Inc. v. Crocker National Bank (1986) 179 Cal.App.3d 1061, 1064-1065 [225 Cal.Rptr. 203].)6
B. Turner’s Claim for Constructive Wrongful Discharge in Violation of Fundamental Public Policy
Turner claims ABI subjected him to a “campaign of harassment” because he complained of alleged ABI violations of federal and state laws, internal company policies, and provisions of ABI’s collective bargaining agreement. Through declarations submitted in opposition to ABI’s summary judgment motion, he catalogs various complaints he made to ABI management shortly after beginning his employment and argues they triggered less-than-satisfactory performance evaluations several years later, thereby causing him to quit.
In light of the governing law discussed in the previous section, Turner’s claim suffers from two fatal flaws. First, Turner’s declarations fail to show he was subjected to working conditions rendering his job so intolerable that a reasonable person in his position would have felt compelled to resign. Thus, he did not show that his resignation amounted to a constructive discharge. Second, even assuming a colorable claim of constructive discharge was shown, Turner did not establish the required nexus between his alleged “whistle-blowing” activities in reporting allegedly illegal conduct, and negative reviews of his performance coming four years later. For either of these independent reasons, Turner failed to create a triable issue of fact, and ABI was entitled to summary judgment in its favor.
(1) No Constructive Discharge
Observing that Turner resigned more than four years after his “whistle-blowing” reports of alleged misconduct by ABI employees, ABI contends Turner’s claim fails as a matter of law under the “statute of limitations” rule announced in Panopulos v. Westinghouse Electric Corp. (1989) 216 Cal.App.3d 660 [264 Cal.Rptr. 810] (hereafter Panopulos). Turner urges us to reject the rule in Panopulos in favor of the more fact-specific and flexible principles applied in Valdez, supra, 231 Cal.App.3d 1043.
In Panopulos, plaintiff resigned in 1983 and thereafter filed suit for constructive discharge in violation of an implied contract. Plaintiff maintained he had been transferred in 1978 and made to work under intolerable *1254conditions until his resignation. Reasoning that “sound policy requires that there be a limit beyond which claims such as that of plaintiff here may not be asserted,” the Panopulos court held “the applicable limitations period must constitute an outer limit beyond which an employee may not, as a matter of law, remain employed after the onset of allegedly intolerable conditions and thereafter maintain a claim for wrongful constructive discharge." (Panopulos, supra, 216 Cal.App.3d at pp. 669, 670.). Because plaintiffs transfer had occurred more than four years (the longest applicable limitations period) before his resignation, the court held his suit time-barred.
Although we agree with Panopulos that there is an “outer limit” beyond which an employee cannot remain on the job after intolerable conditions arise and still claim constructive discharge, reliance on the applicable limitations period to define that limit is unduly arbitrary. Consistent with our discussion in part II.A.(1) above, the relevant question is what a reasonable employee would have done under the circumstances. The length of time the plaintiff remained on the job may be one relevant factor in determining the intolerability of employment conditions from the standpoint of a reasonable person. Neither logic nor precedent suggests it should always be dispositive. (See Valdez, supra, 231 Cal.App.3d at p. 1058.) Insofar as it prescribes the statute of limitations as an outer limit on an employee’s decision to “weather the storm,” we disapprove Panopulos. 7
Despite our rejection of Panopulos, we find no merit in Turner’s constructive discharge allegations. Turner appears to rely on three kinds of allegedly intolerable conditions that he claims precipitated his resignation in 1989: (1) the alleged illegal acts of other ABI employees which he observed and reported in 1984; (2) his reassignment in 1985; and (3) his low performance rating in 1988. None of these purported conditions creates a triable issue of material fact.
The mere existence of illegal conduct in a workplace does not, without more, render employment conditions intolerable to a reasonable employee. Turner was not requested, let alone required, to participate in any of the illegal conduct he complains of. Nor does he contest ABI’s statements that his supervisors duly acknowledged and investigated at least some of his complaints. Although Turner may have been a witness to allegedly illegal conduct condoned by his employer, the nature of the conduct (violations of state law regulating the economic and contractual relationships between *1255beverage manufacturers and their customers and competitors) wás not so obnoxious or aggravated as to cause a reasonable employee to feel compelled to resign.
Moreover, the so-called illegal acts in 1984 and Turner’s 1985 reassignment were remote in time and context from the 1989 resignation. Although not dispositive, the passage of this much time after purportedly unbearable conditions arose strongly suggests that neither Turner, nor a reasonable employee, would have regarded the working conditions at ABI as intolerable.8 (Wagner v. Sanders Associates, Inc. (C.D.Cal.) 638 F.Supp. 742, 745 [passage of time between allegedly intolerable condition and resignation “goes a long way toward destroying” assertion that conditions were intolerable]; Vaughn v. Pool Offshore Co. (5th Cir. 1982) 683 F.2d 922, 926 [no constructive discharge when alleged misconduct occurred several months prior to resignation].)
Finally, Turner’s 1988 performance rating, an event he contends triggered his resignation, is not a basis for a claim of constructive discharge. As we have observed in part II.A.(1), ante, a single negative performance rating does not amount to a constructive discharge. “In order to properly manage its business, every employer must on occasion review, criticize, demote, transfer, and discipline employees.” (Cole v. Fair Oaks Fire Protection Dist. (1987) 43 Cal.3d 148, 160 [233 Cal.Rptr. 308, 729 P.2d 743], quoted in Soules, supra, 2 Cal.App.4th at p. 401.) Thus, the dissent errs in claiming that Turner’s pleadings show a campaign to drive him “out of the company by means of adverse performance evaluations based on charges deliberately fabricated.” (Dis. opn., post, at p. 1270.)
Even if Turner’s miscellaneous charges of employer misconduct are considered together, no continuous pattern of harassment or aggravating conditions emerges. (See Soules, supra, 2 Cal.App.4th at p. 402.) Turner concedes that he received good performance reviews and increases in his compensation from 1985-1987, more than three years after his complaints of illegal activity. He also admits that he resigned when he did because he believed ABI was “setting him up” for termination and that his “chances would be better” in future litigation if he preempted his discharge. Turner’s attempt to weave unrelated and disjointed events together into an insidious pattern unravels quickly in these circumstances. Turner’s resignation was voluntary and strategic, not, as the dissent claims, coerced or compelled by ABI’s acts. In short, Turner was not constructively discharged.
*1256(2) No Wrongful Discharge in Violation of Fundamental Public Policy
As we observed in part II.A.(2), ante, even if Turner could raise a triable issue of fact as to constructive discharge, his case cannot reach the trier of fact unless he can also show a wrongful discharge in violation of fundamental public policy.
In order to sustain a claim of wrongful discharge in violation of fundamental public policy, Turner must prove that his dismissal violated a policy that is (1) fiindamental,9 (2) beneficial for the public,10 and (3) embodied in a statute or constitutional provision. (Gantt, supra, 1 Cal.4th at p. 1095.)
Tort claims for wrongful discharge typically arise when an employer retaliates against an employee for “(1) refiising to violate a statute ...[,] (2) performing a statutory obligation ...[,] (3) exercising a statutory right or privilege. . . [, or] (4) reporting an alleged violation of a statute of public importance. (Gantt, supra, 1 Cal.4th at pp. 1091-1092, fn. omitted.)
Most of Turner’s complaints pertained to ABI’s alleged violations of its own internal practices or its collective bargaining agreements. For example, Turner alleges that, despite his complaints and expressed opposition, his supervisor, George Liakos, violated (1) a conflict of interest provision of the company’s collective bargaining agreement, (2) collective bargaining agreement provisions “relative to wages, benefits and job security,” (3) internal ABI policy concerning employment of family members, and (4) ABI policy concerning use of refrigerated delivery trucks.
Turner also maintains that Liakos “harassed” employees who failed to implement ABI policies concerning refrigeration of beer, arbitrarily and capriciously performed annual evaluations of salaried employees, used threats of probation and harassment to subject all salaried employees to his “whimsical” practices, fabricated merit reviews to justify decisions to discharge employees, and falsified records at ABI’s Riverside operation to further its success in interbranch sales competitions.
*1257Assuming, as we must in a summary judgment posture, that Turner could prove these claims at trial, none of them implicates a fundamental public policy embodied in a statute or constitutional provision. The tort of wrongful discharge is not a vehicle for enforcement of an employer’s internal policies or the provisions of its agreements with others. Turner’s failure to identify a statutory or constitutional policy that would be thwarted by his alleged discharge dooms his cause of action.
Turner does refer in some of his claims to statutory provisions. He charges that ABI management employees Liakos and Schmitt violated unspecified provisions of “the [federal] Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms laws.” He points to Schmitt’s alleged gifts to alcohol retailers “in contravention of ABC laws.” According to Turner, Schmitt also instructed sales personnel to remove or tear down competitor’s products and advertising, to make consignment sales of alcoholic beverages in violation of “ABC Act § 25503.”
Turner’s vague charge of “Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms laws” violations, largely unaccompanied by citations to specific statutory or constitutional provisions, puts ABI and the court in the position of having to guess at the nature of the public policies involved, if any. This kind of showing is plainly insufficient to create an issue of material fact justifying a trial on the merits of Turner’s claims.11
Turner does refer to a single provision of California Alcohol Beverage Control Act (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 23000 et seq. [hereafter Act]) to support his claim. Section 25503 of the Act prohibits consignment sales of alcoholic beverages, i.e., arrangements under which title to beverages is retained by the seller or possession may be returned to the seller. (§ 25503, subd. (a).) In addition, section 23104.2 forbids a seller of beer from reacquiring its product “from a retailer except when the beer delivered was not the brand or size container ordered by the retailer, or the amount delivered was other than the amount ordered . . . or if a package had been broken or otherwise damaged prior to or at the time of actual delivery. . . .”
Violations of these sections might be construed as implicating fundamental public policy. The Legislature’s declaration of purpose in section 23001 *1258of the Act provides as follows: “This division is an exercise of the police powers of the State for the protection of the safety, welfare, health, peace, and morals of the people of the State, to eliminate the evils of unlicensed and unlawful manufacture, selling, and disposing of alcoholic beverages, and to promote temperance in the use. and consumption of alcoholic beverages. It is hereby declared that the subject matter of this division involves in the highest degree the economic, social, and moral well-being and the safety of the State and of all its people. All provisions of this division shall be liberally construed for the accomplishment of these purposes.” (Italics added.)12
Assuming that Turner has identified ABI violations of state statutes implicating fundamental public policies, he has nonetheless fallen short of creating a triable issue on a cause of action for wrongful discharge in violation of fundamental public policy. Initially, Turner does not show that he was ever asked to participate in any illegal activity or that he was subjected to harassment for performing a statutory obligation or exercising a statutory right or privilege. (Gantt, supra, 1 Cal.4th at pp. 1090-1091.) Therefore, he cannot assert a wrongful discharge claim in the classic Tameny sense. (See Tameny, supra, 27 Cal.3d 167 [employee discharged for refusing to participate in illegal price-fixing scheme].) Thus, Turner’s claim is limited to an assertion of “whistle-blower harassment,” i.e., a contention that he was harassed and ultimately forced to quit because he reported to ABI “an alleged violation of a statute of public importance.” (Gantt, supra, 1 Cal.4th at p. 1091.)
But Turner’s claim of whistle-blower harassment fails because he cannot demonstrate the required nexus between his reporting of alleged statutory violations and his allegedly adverse treatment by ABI. Turner’s reporting activity occurred some four to five years before the negative performance evaluations that Turner maintains caused him to quit. Indeed, contrary to the dissent, there is no indication in the record that management regarded Turner as a disloyal employee and troublemaker for his reporting of illegal activity. In response to Turner’s complaints, ABI managers did not dismiss his concerns or admonish him to cease communication, but investigated and made their own determinations that illegal activity was not taking place. The ABI managers receiving Turner’s reports were not on the scene when other ABI managers later found his performance less than satisfactory. Turner’s performance evaluations and status within ABI were generally satisfactory *1259throughout the three-year period following his complaints. On their face, the evaluations appear to be regularly prepared and well documented.
The only reasonable inference from the record before us is that Turner’s evaluation reflected a bona fide assessment of his job performance, not a retaliatory blow for reporting alleged illegalities remote in time, place, and context from the evaluation setting.
For the reasons stated above, Turner’s claim for constructive wrongful discharge in violation of fundamental public policy fails as a matter of law. The trial court was correct in granting summary judgment in ABI’s favor. We therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeal and direct a summary judgment in favor of ABI. ABI shall recover its costs.
Arabian, J., Baxter, J., and George, J., concurred.