Are You Being Harassed Or Bullied At Work? Are You Thinking of Resigning?

Has your job become unbearable? Are you thinking of leaving? Sometimes quitting your job can be the right solution, but it is important to do so in the right way at the right time in order to protect your legal rights while also allowing you to leave an unsafe situation. So what do you do when your workplace has become hostile or impossible to continue working in? We outline some recommendations as to what to do.

When to resign?

Often it will be necessary to utilize internal channels first in order to attempt to resolve the issues. For instance, any inappropriate or upsetting behaviour from a colleague should be reported to a manager, human resources or an employee assistance program if your employer has one. This provides your employer with an opportunity to investigate and/or rectify the situation.

Resignation Letters: Writing an effective resignation letter

Drafting a resignation letter is not as simple as writing your name and “I quit”. There are guidelines to resignation letters, and tips to ensure that you maintain your professional relationships. Differences in wording that may seem insignificant can mean a great deal in terms of being eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) and potentially being able to seek a severance package from your employer after quitting.

EI is not available to employees who ‘quit’ their job but some employees are approved by Service Canada if they quit for good reason. Similarly, there are small nuances that may protect your ability to seek compensation for constructive dismissal within the letter.

In cases where an employee has been harassed or discriminated against, writing a resignation letter and maintaining professionalism can be difficult. If you are thinking of quitting your job based on an untenable situation you should always contact an employment lawyer. Getting appropriate and timely legal advice is the only way to know what your rights and obligations are and to mitigate any risk of resigning and/or staying in the workplace.

Content of resignation letter
Despite the fact that you’ve had a negative experience with your employer, it is important to remain professional in your resignation letter. Your resignation letter should essentially be grouped into three sections:

  • What has happened?
  • Why you can no longer remain in that work environment?
  • How it has impacted you?
  • Your notice of resignation

Example resignation letter

For instance, if you were discriminated against at work because of your sexual orientation an example of resignation could be:**

Dear Ms. Doe,

While working for ABC Company I have been subjected to numerous comments and actions which can only be described as discriminatory towards me and other individuals who are in same sex relationships.

While I have enjoyed working for this company, the harassment and discrimination has become unbearable. I would ask that preventative and positive measures be implemented immediately in order to stop this behaviour. I would be willing to return to work once appropriate assurances are put in place regarding my physical and emotional safety. However, until such measures are in place I cannot in good conscience attend at an unsafe work environment and therefore will stay at home.

I would ask that appropriate measures be taken within two weeks or I will deem your refusal to be a constructive dismissal and act accordingly.

Regards,
Jane Abbott

**Please note however that this blog is not legal advice and such advice should be sought prior to tendering a resignation letter

How An Employment Lawyer Can Help You Move Forward

Resigning from your job can be risky, as an employee learned in a recent decision we discussed in “DeBon v Hillfield Strathallan College: Court highlights need to look from “dispassionate perspective” in assessing poisonous working environment”.

While a lawyer may not always recommend resignation as a solution, it is sometimes necessary due to the emotional damages associated with continued employment within a hostile work environment. An employment lawyer can help with:

  • Achieving a legal remedy which is appropriate to your situation (for example having you reinstated in a different location or getting notice of your constructive dismissal)
  • Maximizing your chances of entitlement to EI by negotiating your exit from your employer (current 2020 EI premiums are up to $573 weekly)
  • Discussing how different job protected leaves (ex. short term or long term disability) can help with the immediate negative impact on your health and/or allow you to be absent from the workplace while discussing a resolution with your employer
  • Obtaining damages for harassment as well as violations of the Human Rights Code

Do you find yourself in a difficult situation and you’re thinking of resigning? Contact Monkhouse Law today for a free 30-minute consultation. To arrange your free confidential 30 minute phone consultation, contact us today.

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