1. Careers
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Forced to Resign

What to Do When You Are Forced to Resign or Get Fired


A businessman with a box full of desk stuff
Tetra Images - Daniel Grill / Brand X Pictures / Getty Images

When you are having issues at work and the situation can't be resolved, you may be be forced to resign as an alternative to being fired. What can you do if you are forced to resign? Is it better to resign or should you hold out and wait to be fired?

Forced to Resign vs. Getting Fired

There are several factors that come into play when you resign versus being fired including eligibility for unemployment compensation, benefits, recommendations, a possibility of a severance package, what you can say in job interviews, and how the company describes your termination to prospective employers.

If you are asked to resign, you don't need to give an immediate response. Take some time to consider the alternatives before you decide to resign or wait to be fired. Here's information on making a decision on whether you should quit before you get fired.

Know Your Rights

It's important to know what rights you have when you are about to be terminated. When you're not sure about your rights, the best place to start is with the company Human Resources department. Even if they are in the process of terminating your employment, they can answer questions, advise you on company benefits you are eligible for, and can guide you through the process of leaving employment.

Wrongful Termination

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated, discriminated against or haven't been treated according to the law or company policy, you can get assistance.

Here's information on your rights when your job is terminated and where to get help, if you need it.

Negotiate the Terms of Your Resignation

When you're forced to resign, you're going to have to leave your job one way or the other, but you may be able to negotiate your separation from employment. Since the company no longer wants you working for them, you may have somewhat of an advantage in the negotiations - unless you are about to be terminated for cause.

Ask about collecting unemployment, severance pay, and the continuation of health insurance benefits. You may be able to negotiate a severance package and continued health insurance benefits for a specific period of time. In addition, the company may opt to allow you to collect unemployment and not contest your unemployment claim.

Collecting Unemployment

You may not be able to collect unemployment if you resign. If you're fired, depending on the circumstances, you may possibly be eligible for unemployment. If you were fired because the job wasn't a good fit, because your position was terminated due to company layoffs or because of reasons like poor performance on the job, for example, you may qualify for unemployment benefits.

Severance Pay

The company has no obligation to offer a severance package, however, depending on circumstances, a package may be offered or you may be able to ask for severance. It certainly can't hurt to ask and severance pay can help with expenses while you are seeking a new job.

Getting a Reference

References can be an issue when you are forced to resign. How is the company going to discuss your termination with prospective employers who check your references? If the company isn't going to give you a good reference, will they not give a reference at all?

Many companies only confirm dates of employment, job title, and salary. If that's the case, the circumstances of your termination of employment won't be mentioned by your previous employer.

During a Job Interview

Before you say why you resigned during a job interview, be sure that your response matches what your previous employer is going to say. It will be a hiring "red flag" if what you say doesn't mesh with what the company says.

Here are sample interview answers you can tailor to fit your circumstances when you are asked why you resigned from your job.

Finally, don't feel badly. In many cases, there is absolutely nothing you could have done to change the situation. Employees are forced to resign or fired every day and once the company has made the decision that you need to go, there is little you can do to change their mind.

Instead, look at this an opportunity to move on and to start over in a job that is a better fit.

Resignation Articles and Advice

Read More: 50+ Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Fired

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.