My boss bullied me into resigning. Is this constructive discharge or wrongful termination?

Six weeks ago I made the mistake of going into my boss's office when I was upset about a perceived miscommunication (she always gave the impression that her staff was welcome to do so) and made the even bigger mistake of saying "Maybe I'm not cut out for this job." I resolved the issue on my end and sent an e-mail later that day saying I planned to do better in future and I wanted to improve my performance and relations with others.

A week later, my boss called me in and asked if I was serious about resigning. I said I was very upset that day but that I had NO intention of resigning. She didn't listen to me and said that "We take any talk of resignation seriously." She never threatened me with termination, but she wore me down enough that I ended up writing a resignation letter and signing it. She told me there was no way I could rescind my resignation once it was in writing.

I consulted with a different employment attorney, as well as a workers' comp attorney (I had been injured at work a few months prior); both told me I didn't have a case but to file for unemployment anyway. I also talked to my HR department, and am waiting for an answer from them.

Was she correct that I could not rescind my resignation? If I'm not reinstated, can I get unemployment? Also, if I file a constructive discharge or wrongful termination claim, will it affect me negatively when interviewing for future jobs?

2 answers  |  asked Aug 30, 2010 2:13 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (2)

Neil Rubin
I agree with Bruce that the resignation will stand and you will not get your job back. When you are at-will they do not need to keep you on for any reason (with a few exceptions).

But what is your question really asking? Is it that you want to get unemployment and it is now at risk because you "resigned"? If that is the case you should contact an employment lawyer as soon as possible to advocate for you from the very beginning of the unemployment application process. Otherwise, I see a denial coming. Good luck.

posted by Neil Rubin  |  Sep 2, 2010 12:07 PM [EST]
Bruce Elfvin
Whether or not you can rescind a resignation will be determined by the facts, the practices and the customs of the employer. If you resign under duress you need to be very clear about this or you will end up with no job and no benefits from unemployment. The presence of any lawsuit in the courts is a public record that can be located by anyone looking for it.

You really need to take all of this to an employment attorney with the documents. More than likely as an at-will employee the employer is free to allow the resignation to stand.

You can select an attorney near you at:

posted by Bruce Elfvin  |  Aug 31, 2010 10:49 AM [EST]

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