The Great Resignation: Proceed Carefully Before You Resign

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July 18, 2022 | By: Lisa I. Fried-Grodin, Esq.

Each day there are more and more stories of people quitting their jobs without another job.  As an employment lawyer, I am here to tell you that there are many reasons to hit pause and think about the consequences before you do so: Here’s some important ones:

  1. Don’t resign if it’s not your decision! Some employers will try to pressure employees to resign, telling them it will be better for them.    These kinds of requests sometimes come when there is something fishy going on that led to the decision to let the employee go (discrimination, non-justifiable favoritism, etc.) and management fears a discrimination , whistleblower or wrongful termination lawsuit and/or does not want employees gossiping about how shocked they are and how bad they feel for this employee.  If this has happened to you, there is usually no value to resigning. Not only will #2-5 apply, but if you have any legal claim to sue your employer, it will be likely be much harder to win if you resign instead of being laid off or terminated. 
  2.  Despite the hype about how great the job market is, there are plenty of employees looking for work for a long time.  This is particularly true for higher level employees and employees over 40 years old.  It’s still usually easier to find a job when you have one.
  3.  With few exceptions, you will most likely forfeit any right to collect unemployment benefits.
  4. Non-compete clauses that restrict employees from working at a competitor or just generally in their industry sometimes only apply if an employee resigns rather than leaves involuntarily.
  5. Some companies have severance policies with a set amount of severance if employees are laid off or not terminated for performance that don’t apply if someone resigns.

The bottom line is: If you are contemplating resigning from your job, take some time to think about why, the value in doing so, what you can lose if you do, and if there is anything you can do to make the situation at your current job better.  It can also be helpful to talk through the decision with an employment lawyer and others in your industry.