Reneging on Resignation

An employee was recently AWOL for 9 days. Consequently, we sent her a letter stating that her failure to notify was, under our policy, a voluntary resignation. She claims now that she really didn't resign, and she wants her job back. She has no substantiated reason for being gone, though she's provided some far-fetched excuses. Our executive director insists that we need to redesignate her "resignation" as a termination because she says now that she didn't intend to quit. Our policy is clear, but he wants to clarify this as a termination. We've followed the policy to the letter up to this point. What type of liability may his action expose us to?


  • 10 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Number One: If you have an employee who was AWOL for 9 days,I would consider this an "abandonment of position". Most policies state that you must notify your supervisor within a certain amount of time (usually 2-3 days) or this would be considered an abandonment of position. Even without such a statement in policy form, it would be ridiculous on an employee's part to feel they were entitled to be gone for 9 days without calling in. I can't see any legal repercussions for your company on this one at all. I have never heard of any company that would tolerate this type of behavior from an employee. It would certainly have to be an extraordinary reason (like being in a coma) for me to accept not calling in in 9 days.

  • If your policy says "failure to notify after X days is a voluntary resignation" and the employee didn't contact anyone for that period of time, how can she claim she didn't resign - she meets the definition. I don't know the legal standing but it seems you could muddy the waters by now calling it a terminiation. Do you have a progressive discipline policy? Where does not reporting for work (9 times) fall in that policy? If it allows for termination, let her take back the resignation and do progressive discipline steps - 9 times should get to terminiation. Talk to a lawyer to make it air tight before giving back the resignation. Good luck

  • Stick with your policy. You have done fine so far. Changing it to a termination is not necessary and irrelevant.

  • Your policy probably states that if an employee is absence x number of dates without notification it will be deemed a voluntary quit or resignation. Your notification to the employee should have said, you were absent on the following dates.... You failed to notify your supervisor, therefore your absences are deemed a voluntary quit, and your employment has been terminated.

  • I agree with Rocky and Gillian. Your doing just fine. If this isn't abandonment of the job, I don't know what is!! We would terminate.

  • Think of it this way - if you let it stay as a resignation, you probably will not have to pay out unemployment for this person.

  • You have good grounds for termination. Don't change your story now -- it does not look in court!

  • Your Executive Director is quibbling over semantics. The word "termination" means to end. A resignation is a "voluntary ending of a relationship or action." What your Executive Director may mean is you should call this an involuntary termination. The real repurcussions could be in your Unemployment Compensaton experience rating, because some states do not recognize absenteeism as "misconduct related to the work" and therefore will approve comp benefits.

    I'd stick by my policy and call this a resignation. It's cleaner, clearer, and simpler.

  • As most state, stick with your original position. It has worked in several states for companies I have worked for. As for unemployment, KY looks at the circumstances, and in this case I could not imagine a state (except NY or CA) giving UI compensation to a person.

  • A classic case of job abandonment if ever I've seen one.
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