Do I have a leg to stand on with unemployment if I signed a resignation letter under duress?

I recently quit a job of 1 year and 8 months after receiving another job offer. The new offer came after a background check contacting references an interview a software test and a working interview. Then after only 8 days on the new job I was fired for “not performing to expectations.” When they fired me they offered me 2 extra days pay and a good review should anyone call based off of my resume if I signed a resignation letter. I signed it an new within an hour it was wrong to do so. I have not as yet cashed the check. I want to know if I have any legal grounds first with unemployment? If not, can I sue the company?

Asked on December 10, 2011 under Business Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, unfortunately, you resigned and may therefore not receive unemployment compensation. You say you signed the letter under "duress," but that is not the case--"duress" in the law is a significant threat, such as of violence, of taking or destroying property, etc. Offering you an incentive to sign a resignation letter--extra money and a good review--is not duress; you were free to turn the offer down, if you thought it more important to preserve your right to unemployment. Therefore, you voluntarily chose to sign the resignation letter, and thus would be deemed to have voluntarily resigned from the job. It may be a bad bargain in retrospect, but it nonetheless is a bargain you voluntarily accepted.


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