Have you been asked to resign your job? Told it will be “better for you” if you do? The employer may list potential benefits of resignation, such as it being better for your job search, and helping you not have to report a discharge on your resume, etc.
And sometimes, resignation is in fact the better option for a worker.
But here’s the issue: do you really want to rely on your employer’s advice about what’s in your best interest at the point the employer is asking you to leave?
Often, for Wisconsin workers, it is a worse decision to agree to a forced resignation than to be fired.
Here are some potential disadvantages of resigning (as opposed to being fired):
- It Can Hurt Unemployment.
A resignation can make it more difficult for a worker to get unemployment benefits.
- It Can Hurt Potential Legal Claims.
A discrimination claim or other termination-based legal claim can lose value if the worker resigns as opposed to being fired. An employee who is fired can assert the employer (the termination decision-maker) is clearly responsible for the job termination and the lost monies that result from that decision clearly made by the employer. An employee who resigns leaves himself more open to argument that he (rather than the employer) was the person who caused his lost monies, thus the employer argues it should not be responsible for legal damages.
- It Can Hurt Potential Severance or Settlement Negotiations.
If an employer has a signed resignation document from you– particularly if it’s also accompanied by a signed statement “admitting” wrongdoing that you didn’t really agree with but signed anyway because you felt pressured, etc.– then the employer knows that you have weakened the potential value of your legal claims. Lesser legal claims = lesser leverage for you to negotiate severance or settlement terms with the employer.
This post is NOT saying that agreeing to resign may not have potential benefits, or may potentially help a worker, in some situations.
There are some situations where on the scale of pros and cons, it makes sense to accept a forced resignation rather than be terminated.
But in my observation, many workers do not consider and weigh all the pros and cons, and too readily accept the employer’s assertion that resignation “is in your best interest.”
If an employer is asking you (or telling you) to leave, your best interest is not the employer’s first priority. Consider talking to an employment attorney, or at least someone who is independent of the employer and who can speak to you about what is in your best interests without having to serve the employer’s interests as well.