Forced to Resign

An employer told one of his employees that, he/she would need to turn in a letter of resignation before the end of the work day or he/she would be terminated. Does an employer have the leagal right to make an ultimatum such as that? How does the law protect the employee and the employer in this case?


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  • I have allowed ee's to resign in lieu of termination. But they requested to resign instead of being terminated, I didn't force them to. At Will employment allows an employer to terminate for any reason as long as it isn't descriminatory.

    In effect this employer is terminating the employee, regardless of any letter of resignation. It may qualify the ee for UI.
  • Why is the employer asking for the resignation? Why doesn't the employer just terminate? I as an employee would not agree to this, without a thorough understanding as to why I am being asked to resign, then most likely I would allow the employer to terminate me. The employee would most likely receive unemployment.
  • I'm afraid I'm missing something here. I routinely give employees the opportunity to resign - or be fired - only two choices, and do it as an advantage to the employee. I also agree not to contest uem, but they would qualify in any event since the resignation is at the ers request and is therefore not a voluntary quit. And why wouldn't you resign as opposed to being termd? Doesn't it look better during job search to quit rather than be termed? Am I out to lunch thnking this is a less harsh way to end the relatinship?Someone please tell me what is the problem, I'm open to be edumacated!
  • It's not that you really missing anything, but in California I would never force an employee to resign. If the employee needs to go, then I would terminate. If it's just not working out then we agree to a mutual termination. If employees ask if they could resign over being terminated, I would accommodate the request.

    So Shadow, what part of Michigan are you in? I have been to West Michgan many times with my former employer. A large office furniture manufacturer.
  • I suppose you cannot really 'force' and ee to resign, but realistically they have no choice, so...I am presently on the East coast of Mi on lake Huron, but, I was raised on a farm within spittin distance of the 'large office furniture manufacturer' you mention, and my family is basically all in west Mi so I go there frequently. DelLoriSheila, the er did ok with he hiring, since 'arrests' are not to be used to deny employment. Now that there is a conviction, the validity of ers action may depend on the relationship of the conviction to the ees job duties - another good reason why, from the ers perspective, the less said about the reasons for separation the better. I know HR, as an ee you want a thorough understanding of the ers reasons, but from the ers point of view, that is sometimes the last thing you want to give the ee. I routinely don't give ees reasons for term - they are at will, no reason necessary, no reason proferred. If they sue, and If (a big if) they survive summary disposition, we may have to dummy up, and if we do we have valid reasons. And, unless it is n egregious performance reason, we generally offer severance on execution of a release.
  • Thank you for your response. This employee has been asked to resign because of a conviction of a misdemeanor. The employers policies do not cover this. Only if an employee is convicted of a felony. Can the employer terminate as far as their policies dictate. The employer was aware of the on-going court preceedings before hiring the employee. Does the fact that the employer had prior knowledge of the legal situation and hired the employee in-spite of the facts,hamper the employer from pressuring the employee to resign or be fired and being informed about the conviction afterwards?
  • The employer may terminate for any reason or for no reason at all as long as it is not for an illegal reason, meaning the employee has a degree of protection under the law. The reasons that are illegal are typically related to race, ethnicity, color, religion, age, handicap/disability, sex and in some limited jurisdictions, sexual preference. In fact the employer could choose to fire you for having a ticket for running a redlight, or for wearing a herringbone pattern on consecutive Thursdays, if he so chose. Its often been said, "For any reason at all or for no reason or, in fact, for a stupid reason, if not illegal".
  • I agree with what's been said about "at will," however if I understood your last post correctly your company is going outside of it's own policy (conviction of a felony) in order to fire this person, and that's where you are vulnerable to liability. The decision to go outside of policy begs the question "why" and that space can often be filled with all kinds of assumptions by a variety of entities such as the EEOC, which can be a huge drain on time and resources. It's always better to simply follow your own rules.
  • Not to mention the fact that knowledge of the act prior to hiring and then using that as a reason for termination would not pass the smell test in court, in my opinion. The employee could try to allege that the employer failed to deal with him in good faith and to bring a claim of that nature does not require violation of any protected class status.
  • Your idea about good faith is correct, however, the issue at hand is not a big enough one to get to court, even in our fair state of California.
  • I agree with HR IN CA.

    If an employee quits, he or she is ALMOST NEVER eligible for unemployment benefits. If he or she is terminated, it always applies.

    It is a MYTH that if you are fired from a job that you cannot get unemployement, but many employers use this myth as leverage to get employees to sign.

    The unemployment policy here is you cannot collect if you were terminated "due to gross misconduct". In other words, if someone is doing a poor job and you fire them, they can collect unemployment. If they yell at a customer, show up late all the time, etc, and you fire them, chances are they cannot collect unemployment.
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