When Companies Force You to Resign
By Deanna Bonaparte
The nature of a resignation implies that you are leaving a company entirely out of your own accord. But what happens if your company resorts to artful, unscrupulous means to bulldoze you out of the picture? Do you brave the winds and remain firm or crumble under the pressure and resign?
Although it might sit better with prospective employers when they learn that you resigned instead of being dismissed, a thorny situation like this requires you to stay calm and think through the ups and downs of both outcomes.
Why Do They Do It?
An article published in The Straits Times in August 2014 featured a former assistant general manager of Robinsons who sued the company on the grounds of ‘constructive dismissal’, after he argued that he had been unfairly pushed out by his employer. However, the ruling ultimately concluded that employees who resign – even if they were forced to – should not expect to get any extra compensation.
A ‘constructive dismissal’ occurs when an employer makes working conditions difficult for a worker in order to compel his or her resignation. This is done instead of formally and quickly terminating their employment, instead leaving the employee in question to stew in less than hospitable conditions. Employers might choose to do this to evade lengthy internal administrative processes, the legal risks that come with dismissing an employee, or perhaps to simply avoid providing a severance package.
Severance packages often comprise pay and benefits to tide an employee over while he or she looks for another job. While companies don’t typically provide severance packages to resigning employees, they do frequently provide it to employees who are laid off. This severance package also comprises part of a compromise agreement between the company and the employee, where the employee accepts the package in exchange for agreeing that he or she will have no further claim against the company. The generosity of some severance packages is thus a key reason behind why a company might try to force someone to resign instead of firing them outright.
Know Your Rights
When you feel like you are being forced out of the company, it is important to be clear of your rights as an employee. The best place to look for answers is at the Human Resource (HR) department as your HR personnel are in the best position to advise you on company benefits that you are eligible for and guide you through the process of leaving the company.
You can also try to request for your employer to describe your separation from the company in neutral terms, should your future employers want to explore your past references. At the very least, try asking them if they would agree to only confirming the dates of your employment.
At the end of the day, employees are fired or forced to resign every day and once the company has made the decision that you need to go, there is little you can do to overturn things. Even if you are not served with an official termination notice, there is little point in staying in a company that does not want to have you. Instead, look at this situation as an opportunity to move on and start afresh in a new job that could have better things in store for you.
Looking for a new job? Browse all job listings here.