Can I legally be forced to quit my job?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I legally be forced to quit my job?

I work for a company that has recently hired a management company to come in and help with some issues we’ve been having. Mostly Financial. I am management, human resource director. I am the highest paid employee on the payroll and ever since she came in she has been trying to get me out of there. She just recently met with me and told me that I’m not a good fit for the company even though I do a good job, and that if I leave on my own, she’ll write me a good letter of recommendation otherwise I can stay and she will terminate my employment. In the meantime she has told me not to talk about this with any of my other employees or co-managers. Is this legal? If so, what is the best choice for me financially? Should I let her fire me or should I quit? I should also state that she also met with the second paid highest

employee and pretty much told her the same thing.

Asked on October 21, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, North Dakota


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that  unless you have a union agreement or employment contract, you are an "at will" worker. This means that your employer can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. This includes who to fire, when and why. In fact, an employee can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. The exception being, that no form of legally actionable discrimination (i.e. that based on race, religion, disability age (over 40), national origin, etc.) can be the reason for their treatment. So, for example, if the reason that you are being forced out has to do with your age, then that would be discriminatory and you would have valid claim. Otherwise, while unprofessional, your employer's action is perfectly permissable under the law. Whether or not you should quit is up to you. If you do you will not be eligible to collect unemployment benefits, however if you don't and they discharge you, then you will lose your letter of reference which won't help when seeking new employment.

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 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.

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