Forced To Resign: A Guide to Handling It Right

As much as anyone wants to be the “perfect” employee, it’s simply not possible because there’s no such thing. Sometimes, there are situations at work where you cannot avoid making mistakes, and the best thing to do is learn from them and move on. 

Unfortunately, some of these issues can be repetitive, which don’t look good to employers, causing significant repercussions to the company later on.

For some businesses, employers may experience more problems than they would like to encounter from a single employee. Rather than trying to amend the situation, some would prefer voluntary resignation, even making it a more attractive option if necessary. By doing so, this will be marked as forced resignation rather than regular termination of the contract.

This practice is fairly common in many parts of the world. However, this constructive dismissal can be considered illegal in some countries, and the employer or company can face heavy consequences. In most cases, you may find yourself no longer able to fight for your position and simply agree and end your employment with them. 

However, it should be noted that forced resignations are far different from layoffs. With a wave of layoffs sweeping the U.S. due to slow business growth and rising labor costs, a lot of people are losing their jobs in various industries such as tech, finance, and retail. Knowing the difference can help employees experiencing either situation to know how to handle them.

Being forced to resign can be a stressful and heartbreaking situation that may leave you confused and lost. This article will guide you through the things you need to do to properly handle this situation and recover from it.


Infographic guide to handling forced resignation

What is Forced Resignation?

Forced resignation occurs when an employer intends to end their relationship with an employee due to different reasons. In some cases, the employer may push you to agree with the decision by assigning you more minor responsibilities and meaningless work. Some may also threaten to terminate your contract with them, which can leave a permanent blemish on your resume.


Forced Resignation vs. Getting Fired

These are the key differences between getting laid off from work and being forced to resign.

Forced resignation

Employers often force an employee to resign for several different reasons. Common ones include redundancy or the installation of labor-saving devices that make the need for physical employees unnecessary (i.e., automated processes). Companies looking to downsize and cut costs may also look towards this practice as a solution.

Being forced to resign can be seen as an insult because it is not a legal practice despite how common it is. Furthermore, you may be harassed by your employers to agree with this decision or face potential termination. Some may also negotiate with you and offer benefits such as medical separation, among other things.

Getting Fired or Termination

When an employer terminates your contract, it is typically due to something you’ve done that has made them lose their confidence in you. In most cases, employees are fired because they unsuccessfully fulfill their tasks or commit a heavy offense such as fraud. Other instances include gross misconduct or willful disobedience against superiors in the company.

A company has the legal right to terminate an employee at any time for reasons they see fit as long as they are not in violation of labor laws. Typically, there is an advanced notice, and some are offered final benefits such as severance pay.

In a different scenario, getting laid off may also fall under the bracket of termination. However, some reasons separate it from qualifying as getting fired. For instance, a tech layoff may be due to redundancy in a dev position, a company restructure, or downsizing measures.

One other big difference is that layoffs rarely happen involving a single employee. It’s more common that entire teams, divisions, or employees in multiple departments get the pink slip, which is currently the situation with the mass layoffs across the country.


Actionable Steps When You are Forced to Resign

When faced with a situation like this, it is best to take note of these steps to help you handle the situation appropriately.

  • Ask what options you can do to keep your job

If the company’s problem lies within your performance, negotiate possible terms that will allow you to keep your position. This can include asking for a probationary period or any other alternatives that you can perform.

  • Know your rights

When being terminated from your position, determine if the reasons are within the boundaries of employment laws. If it’s determined as unjust, you may seek aid from the Department of Labor or consult with a lawyer for a solution.

  • Negotiate the terms of your resignation

In most cases, you are not granted benefits for agreeing to resign from your position. Before accepting the company’s offer, discuss other possible benefits you can claim to settle the situation in a way that’s advantageous to you.

  • Consider other alternatives

Take some time to think about the situation before accepting and signing any papers. Consider all the advantages and disadvantages of being forced to resign and determine how this can affect your career.

  • Take note of your benefits

Always keep in mind the available options you have as an employee and what benefits you can claim before leaving the company. In most cases, companies can still provide you with health insurance for a period between 30 to 90 days. You may also negotiate for other unemployment benefits during this time.

  • Ask if you can get a recommendation

If you do not have a problematic case on your hands, you may ask your company for a recommendation letter to help you search for a new job elsewhere. This can also show your future employer that you did not leave your previous company on bad terms.

  • Take the resignation as a benefit for you

On your resume, employers find it more favorable that you resigned from your previous position in amicable terms rather than indicate you were terminated.

  • Seek information if a claim is warranted

Remember to take time to clearly understand the reason why you were forced to resign. If your circumstances fall under unwarranted claims, you can seek help from a wrongful termination California lawyer to settle the issue.

  • Focus on the positives

Try not to dwell on the situation and focus on how you can move forward from this and grow. Take the opportunity to consider new options for your next role and prevent the same mistakes from happening again.


Facing the Reality of the Situation

Being forced to resign from your position is a serious matter regardless of the circumstances. Not only is this practice illegal, but it can also be morally devastating if you’re a hardworking employee who has plans of making it big in the company. While most people have no choice but to accept this matter, you can always seek help from others who can lend a hand. 

Contact Shegerian & Associates today for assistance regarding your legal rights in the workplace.

Manuela Varela

Relations Manager

Manuela Varela has been with Shegerian & Associates since August 2022. She is responsible for outreach and marketing on behalf of the firm and manages relationships between firms and referring attorneys. She is also responsible for developing business opportunities and affiliations. Manuela graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Economics and Political Science.