First of all, I would like you to know that I am seeking local legal counsel Monday, but wanted someone with legal knowledge to comment on what I already know/don't know.
Second of all, I would like to warn you that this letter was written under duress (I was worried I was going to have a seizure because my temporary boss Beth Mineo wouldn't accommodate me per Disability Support Services -- our ADA office). The wording most likely ruins any chances I have, but I will copy it below. I will also copy the written rescission of the resignation that my temporary boss claims she "never received." That being said, Disability Support Services had received a copy of this rescission letter on Oct. 2 with the understanding that I had given it to my boss and that I was following through with trying to get accommodations in place. I would also like to point out that this is a temporary boss while there was a gap in the staff starting in July, when my former boss retired. My new boss began working yesterday, and he seems like a great guy.
Letter to Director (Sep. 18):
Dear Dr. Beth Mineo,
I regret to inform you that, as of right now, I am planning to resign from my position as communications specialist for the Center of Disabilities Studies (CDS), effective November 4.
I would like to assure you that my resignation is in no way impacted by the lack of a Dissemination and Advocacy Unit Director. Within the first month of working at CDS, I realized that the job was an extremely poor fit for me on both a personal and professional level. That being said, I had planned on staying at the Center for at least five years before looking for other employment, because I truly believed (and still do believe) that I can make a difference in helping CDS revolutionize its communications and marketing presence.
Unfortunately, all of that changed. Due to a lack of foresight and proper planning, an undue amount of burden was placed on me despite several efforts on my part to illustrate the issue of manpower and offer solutions to the problem. In addition, despite a conversation where you seemed shocked that a lot of the 20th anniversary burden was being placed on my shoulders, you did nothing to remedy that issue. Instead, in a later email you designate me as a “key player” in the 20th anniversary celebration event.
All of this has directly affected my health and well-being. I have been working 50-65 hours every week since I returned from my vacation mid-August. Between the general stress from working that many hours and the added stress from knowing that still tasks might not get done on time (despite the overtime), it has made me physically ill.
For two weeks, I had an infection traveling throughout my body until it ended up as a stomach infection, which caused me to take a sick day that I really didn’t have the time to take. On top of that, my stress and sleep deprivation levels have reached the point where I honestly expect to have a seizure at any point during the day. I absolutely cannot have a seizure at this point in my life. If I have a seizure, I will lose my license and have to go back on a medicine that adversely affects my personality, energy levels and general health.
It is for this reason that after much deliberation with my partner, we have decided that it’s not worth me staying at a job that is making me so ill. I am no stranger to overtime, but there is a right way and a wrong way to implement it. During my former job at China Monitor, I worked
10-14 hour days leading up to our products’ launch date. That being said, they hired me an intern and also let me work from home so that I could concentrate better. I’d argue that 10-14 hour days was an unreasonable demand, but they offered several reasonable accommodations to make sure that I could get the job done and still be relatively healthy.
For me, there is no coming back from this past month. I know that I won’t be able to stay at CDS and ignore the fact that at one point, my job caused me to have a high risk of triggering a seizure. In fact, it’s only because of the amazing support that my partner has provided me during this rigorous time that I have even made it this far without further health complications.
Although I am obviously troubled by recent events, at the same time I am reluctant to leave CDS when the Dissemination and Advocacy Unit is in such a vulnerable position. In fact, that’s why I decided to at least stay through November 1 with the hopes that I can provide support for the annual report.
With that in mind, I would like to also offer a potential solution that might be mutually beneficial to both my health and to the future of CDS. I would like to propose reducing my hours to somewhere between 20 and 30 hours per week. If I went this route, I would re-write a resignation letter for my position to end sometime in late February/early March with the hope that you would be able to start the (unfortunately) long process of replacing me. (This would also give me time to finish the website, which I know has been put off long enough at this point.)
I apologize for any distress this letter might cause, but I’d much rather discuss this situation with you than find a new job and leave without much warning for you to rehire the position. Please let me know if you have any questions and when you would like to discuss this further.
Letter of Rescission (Oct. 2) -- please not that this was after a verbal rescission on September 20 when she met with me about the former letter and convinced me to stay on board and see if things were better with a new boss:
Dear Dr. Beth Mineo,
I wanted to confirm in writing that I will not be resigning from my position as Communications Specialist as stated in my previous letter. I am pursuing alternate routes to make sure that I can remain healthy, well and safe moving forward.
Please let me know if you have any further questions, or if you would like to meet to discuss any aspect of this letter.
For further information, Beth has been refusing to provide me with accommodations per the ADA, and has also asked another co-worker to resign who is also looking to get accommodations. As such, I will be reporting her to the EEOC as part of my actions to protect myself.
I don't think that I will be able to argue that her acceptance of my resignation wasn't real, and I'm worried they will state that I never offered a verbal or written rescission given the evidence. My coworker (an ADA specialist) believes that I need to ignore the employment aspect and treat this as an ADA case, especially since I was under duress (a fact that several people could claim witness to) at the time I wrote the letter.
Now that I have told her that I don't think her "acceptance" will hold up in a court of law, she's trying to sweeten the deal by extending my employment to December 31. I absolutely refuse to do this since that would be denying the two rescissions and agreeing that her resignation-acceptance was real, which I still think is unclear. I am not a liar, and I will especially not lie when I am being wronged as such. I have not replied to this email offer (which was sent earlier today), and was planning on showing up to work on Monday until I can get in touch with a lawyer. They never took my keys or followed any of the formalities that usually come with a resignation for such a large higher education institution.