Can An Employer Force You To Quit?

5 things to think about before signing a forced resignation letter.

AS Writing Notification of Resignation
One question I'm surprised I've never gotten here at AOL is one of the most common questions I get in my law practice. That is, whether your boss can force you to quit. Sometimes, a supervisor will try to make you so miserable you'll quit, but some will come right out and say it's time to turn in your resignation.

What are your rights if your employer shoves a resignation letter in front of you and tells you to sign? Should you resign when asked?

Here are the top 5 things to think about before you sign a forced resignation:
  1. Are you being offered anything? If you aren't being offered severance or something of value in exchange for the resignation, why resign? Let them fire you so you'll at least get unemployment.
  2. Did you complain about discriminatory harassment? If you haven't followed the company's policy on reporting race, age, sex, religious, national origin, disability, or other harassment, best do so before you leave. Otherwise, you might give up your right to sue for any illegal discrimination.
  3. Are you signing away rights? If they want you to sign something right away, don't do it. You aren't thinking straight. Ask to take it so you can review it. If they demand that you sign on the spot, it's a red flag. You might be agreeing not to work for a competitor for a year or two, releasing claims for discrimination or whistleblowing, or giving up important legal rights.
  4. Will you get unemployment? By resigning, you may give up your right to recover unemployment compensation benefits.
  5. Who do you think you're fooling? Some people think it will look better when they apply for new jobs to say they quit instead of explaining they were fired. Really? In this economy? Who quits without having another job lined up? Especially when discrimination against the unemployed is legal in most states. Plus, unless you negotiate for a written commitment from the employer about what they will say about you in references, they may well say you were fired or that you're ineligible for rehire even if you quit. You'll have to figure out a way to explain the gap in your resume.
If you do have claims like discrimination, illegal harassment, whistleblower retaliation, worker's compensation retaliation, unpaid overtime or other potential claims against your employer, you may have leverage to negotiate a decent severance package. Don't panic and sign your rights away.
Nobody can make you quit your job. They can fire you or lay you off. They can make you miserable. But ultimately, it's your decision and yours alone whether or not to quit. Don't get fooled into thinking otherwise. Your boss cannot force you to resign your job.

If you think you're about to be fired or asked to resign, do what you can to protect yourself. But if someone demands you resign, think carefully about what you're doing. When in doubt, talk to an employment lawyer in your state about your rights.

If you need legal advice, it's best to talk to an employment lawyer in your state, but if you have general legal issues you want me to discuss publicly here, whether about discrimination, working conditions, employment contracts, medical leave, or other employment law issues, you can ask me at AOL Jobs. While I can't answer every question here, your question might be featured in one of my columns, or in our upcoming live video chat.

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hi today i was verbal abuse by my boss she said creaming at me that i was goin to be there slave today because one of my coworker did not go to work , i went to de HR depsrtment and present my casei am scare that i maid loose my job please help me and advised me how to go furder i do no want to loose my jobs but also i need respect from my boss

May 01 2014 at 5:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My managers are always trying to get people to quit because they think they can get cheaper labor than those who have been with the company a longer time. His famous quote is "if you don't like it then quit", I wonder if that is considered some kind of 'harassment'. He is making it so miserable for everyone here.

November 25 2013 at 4:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mindy Gray

I started a job 4 weeks ago. Along the way my boss and I have but heads over Sales and Marketing strategies, as well as I am a little slow on some of her technical requirements, things that really are not in my job descritption. Who hires a Marketing Director/ Outside Sales rep. and only allows them to be out of the office for 2 hours a day to market. She promissed a company cell phone which I have never received. I have done nothing but pass out her business cards, because she has not provided me with my own. The only thing she is worried about is how many business cards I have collected during the day, and to do a Marketing Report every night. I have been chastised at every turn with her, for asking to be shown how to do something technical so that I dont screw something up. She has been un-approchable, and seems to be just fine with the other 2 co-workers even cutting up, when I have been told no personal conversations in the work place. She picks her kids up from school evedryday and they are in my work space until their Dad comes to collect them. On off school days they are in my space all day.
We spoke the other day because we both realized we have issues to work through, so she suggested we take a day to re-group, and she would call me end of the day the following day. The next, after work hours I
go t an email of apology stating they closed a lot of business a the end of the day, and that she would contact me the next day to talk. So at this point I have been home for two days. The second eve. I finally get a call we are going over our issues and right in the middle of the conversations she says I have to take this call it is a $5000 deals from New York, I will call you tomorrow. Bottom line I am her only Sales/Marketing person and she is closing deals, how do I know they are not mine, and the delaying and the limbo feeling is so un-professional. I believe that since she told me to take the day, that has now been 4 days and the fact that I am a Salaried/ Commission employee she owes me for every day she has kept me home.
Am I right, that she is responsible to pay me? We had nothing in writing, I have signed nothing I am at home because she wants us to think things over and re evaluate if I can do this job. She also shared with me that she called all the accounts that I have sold to get a progress humiliating, for a 24 year professional to be checked up on. Please what are my options here.

October 18 2013 at 10:40 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

If you get backed into a corner and choose to turn in your resignation, can the employer force you to resign early? Nothing was signed in the threat to fire meeting. Nothing was signed at the I made up my mind and I will leave at the end of Oct. to help finish my work and get through audit meeting. Nothing was signed at the force out meeting. No paperwork was provided to me despite my asking. I was told that I violated an agreement made that I would stay in the office to catch up on work. I left to testify in court per a subpoena in the case of a client, so for work. The force out happened on Tuesday after I had to go back to court on Monday, though originally thought it would only be Friday. The director said I could not go back on Monday and told my direct supervisor to call and "get me out of it." Of course that did not happen and I went. The next day I was told my resignation would be accepted as that day and the director was already boxing up my office as we spoke. Can that happen? Is there anything that I can do now?

September 25 2013 at 7:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I worked in a wallpaper store in Akron, Ohio, many years ago, and there was this one tramp who just couldn't keep her filthy hands off of me, despite the fact that I was married at the time. I repeatedly asked her to stop, and several other employees knew what was going on; apparently, this girl did this to nearly every new guy who started working there.

The final straw came when she went and changed the stock numbers on a very large wallpaper phone order that I had taked earlier in the day, from the current catalog numbers I had written down to the outdated numbers from an old and outdated book from the same company that had been lying in the back, next to the trash.....right next to her desk. Well, the owner screamed and cussed me out, called me every name in the book....then I showed him that there were two different types of handwriting on that phone order....mine, and hers. He never apologized, although she actually made a half-attempt to do so, telling me that she thought I had been using the wrong book. Well, no matter....the damage was done, and I couldn't wait to get out of there! I had complained over and over to the family who owned that place, and they acted like I had the problem, so I figured the writing was on the wall. In the early 1990's, guys just didn't have any recourse like they do now. It was worth it to quit, just so I wouldn't have to listen to her sordid sex stories as she touched me and tried to massage my neck, while telling me all about her numerous past boyfriends and the subsequent abortions she said she had.....what she referred to as "getting the 'ol suction job", no lie, I swear! . That girl was a total pig, and I'd quit the job all over again, given those same circumstances. I wish more men would break their silence about this type of sexual harassment; in America, most guys act like there's something wrong with you if you don't take these tramps up on their offers. This girl just made me sick to my stomach.

September 10 2013 at 8:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Donna, I am curious? Since a company in this situation hasn't fired you, but simply asked for your resignation, couldn't an employee say that their Doctor is taking them out on medical disability. The employee should then be protected, and then have time to try and get a doctor to take them out on a stress leave, or medical leave. (Since the employer hasn't severed employment)?

September 10 2013 at 7:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Never ever, no matter how much you hate your job, Quit untill you have another job lined up and can start immediatly.

September 10 2013 at 5:02 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

This is the second time the Fluffpost has run this inane story. The fact is, and employer does not have to force an employee to quit. The job belongs to the employer, not the employee. As such, an employer can terminate an employee at any time without any reason given. It's that simple!

September 10 2013 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to dickn2000b's comment

True, but employers will try this tactic in order to keep from having to pay unemployment. It has NOTHING to do with them having the right to terminate, just a matter of saving money!!!

September 10 2013 at 7:03 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

This is not an inane story. The legal term is "constructive discharge" and even in an "at will" work place is still a violation of the law. If the termination is retaliatory, discriminatory or in violation of Title VII, then the employer is in violation of the law. You can fire an employee for a lot of reason. Incompetency, not a good match, but not for those contrary to Federal State and Local laws.

September 20 2013 at 8:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Twice I faced the so-miserable-you-quit routine and I did quit. But not until I had another job lined up. Until then I just did my job with gusto, kept a big smile on my face and wished everyone a hearty good morning and see ya tomorrow - which drove the Simon Legrees crazy.

Once I had a lock on the new job I simply cleaned out my stuff at the end of the day and never went back to the old salt mine.

I was glad to be gone and I know they were relieved I had left. Win/win situation. Don't hang around where you aren't wanted. There's plenty of opportunity out there if you look for it so get off your hinder and look for it before you split. Why worry about unemployment when you can have a new job waiting for you? Then walk out and don't look back.

September 10 2013 at 3:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

In my line of work as a flat rate auto technician,I`ve seen techs get starved out from lack of work given out to them. I did`nt realize that there was something called constructive discharge as mentioned before. Good to know.

September 10 2013 at 2:25 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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