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The Art of Writing a Resignation Letter – For Leaving on Good or Bad Terms

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Resignation Letters – Good Examples from Allison & Taylor, The Reference Checking Company

While crafting a resignation letter is simple enough when you’re leaving an employer on civil terms, what do you do if you’re parting on less than favorable circumstances? Writing a resignation note in anger or haste could become an action you will later regret. 

On the other hand, a beautifully written resignation letter will stand out, even if you left as a result of poor performance.  Hopefully a thoughtful resignation accepting responsibility will  afford you great references in the future. 

Here are some examples of how your resignation letter might be worded for best effect. Allison & Taylor can also assist in crafting an appropriate resignation letter.

Example #1: Resignation Due to Philosophical Differences

Please accept this as my official notice of my resignation. As you are aware, over the last twelve months we have had numerous differences of opinion regarding my philosophies for corporate policy, best practices and goals for the company.

Unfortunately, it is clear to me that you and I will be unable to resolve our differences. Therefore, I feel that my resignation is the best option for the team and all concerned.

My last day at Allison & Taylor will be xx. I would appreciate meeting with you in the next week or so to discuss the transition of my duties to a successor.

Example #2: Resignation Due to Bullying, Harassment, Age Discrimination, or Sexual Overtones

As you may or may not be aware, some members of your management team do not adhere to appropriate company policy. Accordingly, I regretfully tender my resignation having experienced unsuitable corporate behavior.

It has been my pleasure building Allison & Taylor to its current level and I regret the unfortunate circumstances that compel me to leave the company.

Please advise if you wish to meet with me and my attorney in the near future to discuss these events, which have been brought to the attention of HR over the past 12 months. My last day will be xx.

Examples #3: Resignation Due to Perceived Shortfall in Employee Performance or Compliance with Corporate Policy

It is with heavy heart that I respectfully submit my resignation from Allison & Taylor, effective immediately.

I do so with the realization that a growing number of my peers view my recent actions with the firm as unprofessional and a poor reflection on the corporate image. To whatever degree this is true, I offer my heartfelt apologies and feel I would serve the company best by removing myself from our corporate arena.

Be assured that it has been my honor and pleasure to work with you and our organization over the past years. The company has become a second home to me, and I have come to think of my associates as more family than co-workers. I am hopeful that in some small way I have contributed to the firm’s success and respected position in the marketplace. 

I will be forever grateful for the business acumen and relationships that I have gained, and wish all organization members the very best in their professional and personal lives.

If you like the sound of the resignation letters above, head here to view more.

This blog originally appeared at Allison & Taylor on DATE. Reprinted with permission.

About JobReferences.com & Allison & Taylor, Inc., the Reference Checking Company:

The principals of this firm have been in the business of checking references & credentials for corporations and individuals since 1980. Over 40 years of assisting job seekers and those companies hiring them. For those seeking a promotion or a new job opportunity: JobReferences.com will call your former employer obtain your references, document them and give the results to you.


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“So Bad I Had to Quit”: Understanding Constructive Discharge

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When is a resignation not considered a voluntary act?  When it is unlawfully coerced or the only escape from an intolerably hostile work environment?

A finding of “constructive discharge” is essentially the same as wrongful termination. The person technically quit but for all practical purposes they were pushed out. Federal employees alleging constructive discharge have a very short window to bring such a complaint.

What is constructive discharge?

Constructive discharge means that an employee, rather than being terminated, was forced to resign because of deception, coercion and/or unbearable treatment by the employer. In other words:

  • I quit because they lied to me about what would happen if I stayed.
  • I quit because they threatened to ruin me.
  • They made my job a living hell. I had no choice but to quit.

When an employee voluntarily leaves a job, they are typically not entitled to unemployment benefits. They are no longer entitled to due process through their employer. And they forfeit the right to sue for wrongful discharge. So it is in the employer’s interests to “encourage” employees to quit and characterize the exit as voluntary.

Involuntary resignation is not always constructive discharge

Quitting because of subjective feelings of “unfair” treatment is not grounds for a constructive termination lawsuit. Nor is quitting rather than face disciplinary proceedings or “I quit before they could fire me.”

In general, constructive discharge must meet one of these scenarios:

  • Hostile environment — The employee was subjected to retaliation, harassment or discriminatory conduct that created a hostile work environment so intolerable that a reasonable person would not be able to stay.
  • Coercion — The employer made misrepresentations or threats of adverse employment actions that the employee relied upon as a forced resignation.

You don’t have to prove that management conspired to make you quit, only that their actions or deceptions led you to believe you had no alternative.

Government workers must claim constructive discharge within 45 days

A landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2016 (Green v. Brennan) clarified that the clock starts from the date of your resignation, not from the date of the manipulative or abusive conduct. For federal employees, that means you have just 45 days from your separation (the day you gave your resignation) to initiate a constructive discharge claim through the EEOC or the MSPB.

Where the complaint is filed depends on the underlying nature of the mistreatment, such as Title VII discrimination or whistleblower retaliation.

Don’t be too quick to quit your job

It is difficult to “undo” a resignation. If you storm out, dramatically shouting “I quit!” that is as legally binding as resigning in a formal letter. In general, it is harder to land new a job if you have already left gainful employment – you will have to explain the employment gap or explain why you left. Don’t do anything rash without getting legal advice.

In a perfect world, you should remain on the job and exhaust all of your due process rights, including filing a formal complaint of harassment, discrimination or retaliation. Obviously, if it gets so bad that your physical and mental health are jeopardized, you may conclude you can longer go back to work. Hopefully by then you have reported and documented the mistreatment, reprisal or inadequate response. Ideally, you will have another job lined up before leaving.

This blog was originally published by The Attorneys of Passman & Kaplan on January 8, 2018. Reprinted with permission. 

About the Author: Founded in 1990 by Edward H. Passman and Joseph V. Kaplan, Passman & Kaplan, P.C., Attorneys at Law, is focused on protecting the rights of federal employees and promoting workplace fairness.  The attorneys of Passman & Kaplan (Edward H. Passman, Joseph V. Kaplan, Adria S. Zeldin, Andrew J. Perlmutter, Johnathan P. Lloyd and Erik D. Snyder) represent federal employees before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and other federal administrative agencies, and also represent employees in U.S. District and Appeals Courts.


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