Forced Resignation: What to Do Next?

Often, an employer asks their employee to resign if they are having challenges in their place of work. They prefer to do this instead of terminating their employment. But when your employer forces you to resign, there are steps to take to get what is due to you.

Forced resignation is not a voluntary act. Forced resignation is when an employer compels an employee to quit working. It can also be called constructive dismissal. 

Nobody wants to resign from their work, except if there is unfair treatment in the system. So, in this article, we discuss what to do if you were forced to resign.


What is Forced Resignation? 

Forced resignation is when an employee surrenders their position due to pressure from supervisors, managers, or board members.

Unlike a typical resignation, where an employee voluntarily surrenders their job position, forced resignations are not voluntary. 

Many employers use forced resignation because they try to preserve the employee’s work history instead of offering them a sack letter. These former employees can easily find jobs elsewhere by giving them a forced resignation letter.

When resigning from a job, it’s great not to burn bridges. You must do it carefully so you can easily get another job. If you don’t know what to say, read: What To Say When You Resign From Your Job.

What To Do If You Were Forced To Resign

You should take various steps when you are forced to stop working. Forced resignation by an employer can leave you in a confused state. However, here are the things you should do if you were forced to resign:

#1. Look out for the alternatives 

You should not respond immediately if your employer asks you to resign. First of all, look out for alternatives. You can negotiate with your employer to give yourself extra time to search for a new job. 

#2. Ask for options

Instead of resigning, if you still want to maintain your job, you can ask your employer if other available options will allow you to remain in your position.

For instance, if your forced resignation is poor job performance, you can request that you be probed for some time and a performance plan too. But if the reason is otherwise, you can also ask for alternative options rather than leaving your job.

#3. Ask if you can negotiate your resignation

If you have no option but to resign, you can always ask if you can negotiate your resignation. Negotiating your resignation may cause you to receive a severance package, or you might receive an extra amount of time to stay in the company while you search for a new job elsewhere.

#4. Know your benefits

As an employee forced to resign, you should know your benefits in your company. You can meet your company’s Human Resources Manager for questions about your eligible benefits (such as health insurance or unemployment benefits).

#5. Think about getting a recommendation

You might also choose to talk with your supervisor or colleague concerning writing you a recommendation. However, this depends on the forced resignation reasons.

For instance, if you were forced to resign because the needs of your position changed, your supervisor might still be on good terms with you because of the positive efforts you’ve been making in that position.

Hence, they can write you a recommendation or accept to be included in your references.

#6. See the situation as an opportunity

Most times, there may not be alternative options or other things you could do to change the situation. However, do not let it affect your self-confidence.

Look at it positively and be grateful for the relationships you built, self-development, etc. Also, see it as an opportunity to find a better job.

Getting sacked is not the end of your life. If you’re confused after losing your job, check out: I Just Lost My Job! 10 Quick Things You Must Do Now.

You must understand why you were forced to resign. If it was wrongfully done, you might decide to file a claim. Meanwhile, here are some ways to go about it:

  • Get proof of forced resignation

For every illegal activity, there is proof to back it up. Some employers force employees to resign for whistleblowing, bullying, etc. When all these happen, there is evidence you can use to prove that you were forced to resign. 

  • File for unfair dismissal

You can choose to handle this yourself or through a professional attorney. But either way, it should be reported within 21 days of the dismissal. If it is done this way, you can get the right compensation that is meant for you. This report should be made to the Fair Work Commission within these 21 days of resignation.

  • Judgment time

This is when the Fair Work Commission looks into the case to know if the resignation was called for. Sometimes, employees are the ones that cause forced resignation because of their behavior. 

Difference Between Resignation And Termination

While the result of both resignation and termination is you leaving an organization, there are differences between both terms. Some of the major differences include the following: 


For resignation, the employee ends the contract or the employment. But for termination, the company ends the contract because of inappropriate behavior or for reasons best known to them.

Notice period

The employment contract often tells the time to give before the company ends your employment or before you resign. However, in some companies, you can just submit a resignation letter two weeks before you quit. Meanwhile, this differs based on the situation. 

Then immediate termination due to misconduct or poor performance may take effect immediately, unlike resignation. But the employers may give the worker prior notice before the termination.


They only entitle a worker who resigned to the payment through the last day on the job. In contrast, a worker who is ended is entitled to severance pay.

Severance pay is compensation made to a worker for job loss. The severance pay is usually more than the normal pay for a resigned worker. And you cannot receive severance pay if you resign.

When you’re off the job, it’s easy to be cheated on your severance pay. Consider: How To Negotiate Severance Pay When You’ve Been Laid Off

When is Forced Resignation Illegal?

Some forced resignation reasons are illegal. The employer may have committed an offense when an employee is forced to resign.

Meanwhile, individuals are supposed to enjoy rights even in the workplace, but when people abuse those rights, it is illegal. There are reasons for forced resignation by an employer on an employee. Here’s a look at some of them:


One of the reasons for forced resignations reasons is whistleblowing. It is illegal for any employer to make an employee resign because the person was involved in whistleblowing against their activities.

If you are forced to resign because of whistleblowing, report the issue, and you will be reinstated to your former position and even be paid double the salary. Thus, a forced resignation by an employer because of whistleblowing is illegal.


Discrimination is among the most common forced resignation reasons. An employee may be forced to resign because the employer is against race, religion, color, age, or disability.

The civil rights act of the country protects the said people from such employers. Hence, a forced resignation because of discrimination is illegal.

Family and medical leave

This is also part of the common forced resignation reasons. In most cases, employees may take unpaid leave (for a certain period) for their medical treatment or that of a close family member.

Whereas, if you have worked for up to a year in the company, you’re entitled to a paid leave. But if you’re forced to resign for taking a family and medical leave, then it is illegal. 

Every worker is entitled to a period of leave. Consider: What Is Holiday Pay? Definition, Overview, And How It Works

Effects of Forced Resignation

There are effects when you are forced to resign from work for one reason or the other. Hence, here are the effects of a forced resignation:

It affects plans

When you are forced to resign, it leaves you stranded on the way. This is because every worker has already planned a few years with their current jobs in mind. Therefore, always have a backup plan when working under an employer.

Emotional effects

To those with fragile minds, forced resignation by an employer can harm them negatively. It will make them feel like they are not important or needed. Anything that hurts you can leave an unforgettable scar in your memory. 

Hinders employment references

If an employee ends his contract with his employer on a friendly note, such an employer can recommend you to other employers. But if you were forced to resign, it means that the relationship between both of you is not good. For this, they can’t give you any recommendations.

When is a Forced Resignation Because Of Retaliation? 

As an employee of a company, you might have been bullied, abused in all ways, or even degraded. When such an act happens, and you report it to the right authorities within and outside the company, your employer or superior may decide to take it up a little. 

Then, he may start making you do things that will make you willingly resign. That is forced resignation because of retaliation. When a worker is forced to resign from their place of work, the employer has committed an offense by breaching the federal and state law on working ethics.  

An example of a forced resignation because of retaliation is a man who catches the employer committing some crimes, reports him and then is forced to quit the job. 

Case Examples of Forced Resignation

There are various examples of people who were forced to resign from their office. Sometimes forced resignation by an employer can be made to look like a contract ended on a peaceful note or termination basis. People can be forced to resign in different ways, and such ways include:

  • A worker who took leave from work because of health challenges is still recuperating. The boss sends a resignation letter to the person on the sickbed, which will negatively worsen their health. 
  •  An employer and a worker had a heated argument due to the employer’s negligence. The worker received a letter from the company accusing him of some offenses.
  •  A worker who was not paid his wages completely for four months was forced to resign and was made to look like he was terminated from the job. 

What Are The Types of Termination?

When an employee’s job is taken from their employer, they are forced to resign or be terminated from the company’s workforce.  

Termination can occur in three ways—firing, layoff, and furlough. You may be wondering what these terms mean. Well, let’s look at each of them:


When you are fired from the company, it is mostly because of some reasons from your or the company’s end. These reasons can be poor working habits, rules violations, etc. In firing, some employees give a date when you should evacuate; sometimes, it will take effect immediately.


There are many reasons a company can decide to lay off a worker. The most popular reason is the lack of funds to keep up the business. It does not matter how hardworking you are or what you contributed to the company during your stay; you can still be laid off. A layoff can be temporary or permanent depending if the company wants you back when they are back on their feet.

To be laid off and to be fired are two different things. What’s the difference? Find out: Laid Off vs. Fired! What are the Implications and Definitions


Although this is not termination, it can eventually lead to termination from duty. This is when a worker is on unpaid leave from work. While you have the intention of resuming duties after their leave, your job can be terminated while on leave. Furlough refers to when your job is terminated at the end of your unpaid leave.


Nobody wants to resign from work, let alone be forced to resign from their workplace by their employer. However, there are agencies set up by the government and concerned individuals to ensure that the workplace is safe for both the workers and the employers. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA), the Fair Work Commission (FWC), etc. So, whenever you face pressure to resign from your employer, report to the human resources department or the government-established agencies for mental safety. 

Forced resignation is not what anybody should experience in their workplace because it can take a toll mentally on the victim. 


What is it called when you are forced to resign?

Constructive dismissal is when employees are forced to quit their job against their will because of their employer’s conduct. Find out what you can do if you have to leave your job.

What happens when you are forced to resign?

If you were forced to quit or resign due to intolerable working conditions, you could sue your employer for constructive discharge. Legally, constructive discharge is a form of termination because you were forced to quit against your will.

Is immediate resignation allowed?

If you are resigning immediately in protest at how you have been treated, a verbal resignation is enough, but it is better to put it in writing. Most employment contracts will require you to resign in writing – so your notice period will not run until you give your employer written notice.

What is the difference between quitting and resigning?

In most cases, quitting a job is the same thing as resigning from a job: either way, you have chosen to no longer have that job. Resign is more at home in formal settings, but quitting is also perfectly acceptable in serious writing.

Can resignation be rejected?

The resignation decision is the employee’s decision alone. An employer can not refuse to accept it. This is no different from dismissal being the employer’s decision; the employee can not refuse to accept that they have been dismissed.



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