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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20299
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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Im being forced to resign in lieu of termination. My employer

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I'm being forced to resign in lieu of termination. My employer prepared my resignation letter and a separation agreement for me. My concern is not being eligible for Florida unemployment due to me resigning. My employer has agreed that I can change the verbiage of my resignation letter if I'd like. Is there anything specific I can say in the letter that will help me qualify for unemployment? If I refuse to resign, they will term me for cause and I won't get the severance money that they've offered.

Thank you for the information and your question. Can you please tell me what the "cause" is that you would be terminated for? Does the resignation letter says that you are voluntarily resigning or resigning in lieu of termination for cause?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I believe the cause they are using is misuse of work time and property. Essentially, we had a work related chat room the I and my counterparts at other locations used. We said some unkind things about corporate management in there and they found out about and decided that the lot of us needed to go. It really is ridiculous. The letter says that I'm voluntarily resigning to pursue other opportunities. Again, they are ok with me rewording the letter to an extent. I doubt they want any mention of the actual circumstances mentioned though. They are really trying to sweep this situation under the rug.

Hello again,

Thank you for the information. Unfortunately, unless your employer is willing to forego a resignation letter altogether and just put in your severance that due to being downsized or terminated for not being a "good fit" you are receiving severance, you really have very little chance of receiving unemployment benefits in Florida. You won't qualify for benefits if you are terminated for cause and you won't qualify for benefits if you voluntarily resign.

You actually have a better chance at winning your UI benefits if you are terminated than if you resign. At least when an employee is terminated for cause and the employer disputes their eligibility it is the employer's burden of proof to show that the employee intentionally or through gross negligence violated an established workplace rule, standard, policy, or failed to perform their duties properly. So, unless the employer could prove that you knew what you were doing was a violation of policy or a reasonable person would have, then they wouldn't be able to carry their burden.

If you resign, then you carry the burden of proof to show that you quit for "good cause" which you cannot do here since quitting instead of being fired is not good cause. So, you ultimately need to decide if you are willing to forego the severance pay unless the employer will say they are cutting you or terminating for not being a "good fit" and take a chance that if they terminate you that they cannot carry their burden of proof.

Let me know if you need any clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.

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