This morning, I called an employee into my office to fire him.  He asked if he could resign instead and I said “no problem.”  All I really cared about was having this employee gone.  I didn’t fall into some type of legal trap did I?


I prefer letting employees resign. Allowing employees to resign enables them to retain dignity and more easily get future jobs. Firing results in a long-term black mark on their job history that they have to explain to each prospective employer.

According to the four attorneys I polled, employers face risk fewer risks when they allow employees to save face by resigning.  A few caveats – do not cut corners in documenting this separation.  Your employee may still file a wrongful termination lawsuit claiming you forced him to resign. He may also claim you fired him when he realizes that resigning delays his unemployment benefits.  Also, decide now how you’ll handle reference checking calls from potential employers.


© 2019, Lynne Curry

Lynne Curry writes a weekly column on workplace issues. She is author of “Solutions” and “Beating the Workplace Bully” and Curry is now a Regional Director of Training and Business Consulting at Avitus Group. Send your questions to her at or follow her on twitter @lynnecurry10.


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