What can be done if your employer pressures you into signing a resignation letter so that it doesn’t have to pay you unemployment?

I am a full-time employee and recently asked my employer if I could go to part-time (so I could take off 1/2 Thurs to go to school). They declined my request and drew up 2 letters of resignation for me. They asked me 6 times in 2 days to please sign the letter. I did not want to but was pressured into it and believe I may have missed something or somehow cheated myself when signing this. Can they force me to sign a letter of resignation that they drew up for me so that they do not “let me go” to ensure I can’t collect unemployment? They did this to another employee before I started working here

Asked on July 28, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

They did not "force" you to sign the letter, unless they threatened you in some way--with being blacklisted in your industry, with not receiving a benefit you are entitled to, with disclosure of personal information, etc. And, if they did that, they committed actionable--potentially criminally actionable, as well as civilly--offenses. However, if all they did was apply "moral pressure" or keep suggesting, that is not being forced to sign. From a legal point of view, you signed of your own free will and therefore are accountable for the consequences, including not being eligible for unemployment. Even if they offered you some extra compensation to sign, that's not being foreced to accept it. (If you were lied to in some way about what you'd get, that might constitute fraud and be actionable, however.)

In the future, it doesn't matter how much someone nags, cajoles, requests, even harranges, you--if you choose to do something, you are accountable for the choice.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.