Often, due to discrimination, harassment or other unfair treatment, employees feel like they simply want to walk away from their job and the difficult situation in which they find themselves. While it’s true there may be times when a work environment is so toxic that quitting may be the only option, it is important to understand the legal ramifications of a decision to simply resign.
Resigning your employment can affect (1) your right to unemployment benefits, (2) your right to seek damages in the form of lost wages due to discrimination, unlawful harassment or other legally prohibited treatment, and (3) frankly, your ability to find new employment. Before you quit – consult your local employment law specialist!
(1) Your right to obtain unemployment benefits when you resign.
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) will generally not pay unemployment benefits when an employee resigns his or her employment. A threshold requirement that every claimant must meet before drawing unemployment benefits is to show that they are out of work through no fault of their own. Thus, while there are instances when the TWC will allow benefits to be paid upon resignation, the burden is on the employee to show that he or she was forced to resign.
(2) Your right to seek damages in the form of lost wages due to discrimination, unlawful harassment or other legally prohibited treatment.
A defense to payment of lost wages, otherwise due to unlawful employment actions, is that an employee’s lost wages were not the result of the employer’s unlawful conduct but due to the employee’s own resignation. While other damages such as mental anguish and punitive damages may still be available in such cases, claims for lost wages may be forfeited if you resign.
(3) Your ability to find new employment.
It is axiomatic that it is easier to find employment while you are still employed than when you are unemployed. Clearly, you will be stuck with having to explain why you quit your last job. Let’s face it, explaining to a prospective employer that you quit your last job because you feel you were mistreated is never an ideal conversation during a job interview.
All in all, it is a better idea to consult an attorney specializing in employment matters for the best strategy for handling unfair employment situations before resigning.