Can my employer refuse to accept my letter of resignation?

Updated on : December 7, 2021 by Brooke Rojas



Can my employer refuse to accept my letter of resignation?

Yes. They can refuse to accept it and it remains valid. Any resignation is valid as of the date of the letter. The letter does not need to conform to any specific format and you do not need to comply with the obligations of your employment contract. The employer is responsible for explaining what you must do to leave in good faith; after giving your letter / talking to them about the resignation.

Once you submit your resignation, you will be subject to the labor rules in your country governing resignations and the terms of release in your employment contract and / or employee handbook. Many of the terms in the employees

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Yes. They can refuse to accept it and it remains valid. Any resignation is valid as of the date of the letter. The letter does not need to conform to any specific format and you do not need to comply with the obligations of your employment contract. The employer is responsible for explaining what you must do to leave in good faith; after giving your letter / talking to them about the resignation.

Once you submit your resignation, you will be subject to the labor rules in your country governing resignations and the terms of release in your employment contract and / or employee handbook. Many of the terms of employment contracts are difficult to enforce in court. Companies include them in an effort to cover all possible risks, however many such recoveries on sales commissions are simply invalid and, in some places, illegal.

In most countries, you can stop working today and as long as you have not received an advance salary and your absence does not inflict measurable and quantifiable harm to the employer, it would be difficult for the employer to enforce (through the courts) any exit . clauses of your contract. You are employed and paid for the work you do; stop working and there is no obligation.

Most people don't do this. There is a great reputational risk from "quitting work." So most people submit a resignation letter, discuss with their management the best way to deliver, and get out on good terms with everyone involved.

Sometimes things are not so nice. The manager involved or HR may be mandated to "reject all resignations first" to reduce staff turnover and give them more time to find reinforcements. Or it could just be a bad manager. From a business process standpoint, it sounds good. Legally and functionally it is a joke.

It is better to read the exit clauses in employment contracts such as: "If you want to leave, we will pay you 3 months to deliver your work. You can leave immediately and you will not receive a letter of recommendation. If you have received an advance of salary and you you go immediately, you will have to return it. " I have only seen one company with a contract like this in my career.

You can only be obliged to work for what you have been paid for. Everything else is a choice.

Hi Safran,

Yes, the employer can deny acceptance of the resignation letter only if the resignation letter does not conform to any specific format and does not comply with the obligations of your employment contract. The employer is responsible for explaining what you must do to leave in good faith; after giving your letter / talking to them about the resignation.

Once you submit your resignation, you will be subject to your country's labor laws or regulations governing resignations and the terms of exit from your employment contract and / or employee handbook.

Some dos and don'ts:

1) You should have sufficient evidence that and

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Hi Safran,

Yes, the employer can deny acceptance of the resignation letter only if the resignation letter does not conform to any specific format and does not comply with the obligations of your employment contract. The employer is responsible for explaining what you must do to leave in good faith; after giving your letter / talking to them about the resignation.

Once you submit your resignation, you will be subject to your country's labor laws or regulations governing resignations and the terms of exit from your employment contract and / or employee handbook.

Some dos and don'ts:

1) You must have sufficient proof that your supervisor has received your resignation letter. You can send a copy to management and get an acknowledgment, send it using RPAD (Registered Acknowledgment Due Receipt) that way the employer can't avoid it.

2) Clearly specify that you are willing to comply with the notice period or pay the equivalent amount for breach of the service contract or bond (if you have signed one)

3) Send an email mentioning the details of the conversation, the time, the date, the place, the people present and state the reasons why your employer is refusing to accept the resignation. If possible, have a discussion in the presence of a third party (HR) or anyone else in senior management. This will act as proof that the discussion happened.

4) Keep sending email reminders to accept the resignation and inform that you are not willing to withdraw the resignation and that you will not work after the notification period ends (according to the contract) and that you are willing to provide Transfer of Knowledge within the notification period. (If the employer does not assign someone to prepare a transfer document, send it on the last day) It will not be possible to extend your stay.

In your reminders inform them that you have not received any response from them.

5) For the past week, obtain parallel authorizations from departments such as accounts, systems, library, etc., indicating that there are no fees or assets against you. Please send an email that you have no company assets or documents.

6) Have adequate proof of employment such as PF statement, last 3 payroll, etc.

If you have served an adequate notice period. The employer has no choice but to release you.

The employer cannot initiate a legal notice for the resignation notice.

If they force you to work or threaten you. You can file a complaint against your employer with the local labor commissioner. Legally this is called "Unfair Labor Practice", which is illegal and punishable. The employer can be jailed or fined.

The Apex court has rendered many judgments very clearly on the above issue and you should not be concerned or succumb to undue pressure created by the employer.

Whether or not your resignation is accepted by them, it is still your formal notification that you intend to leave. And the date your employment will officially end. Therefore, an employer is free to say that they do not want to accept it, which could be good or bad depending on their perspective. But it doesn't change the fact that you provided written notice that you plan to leave as of date X.

FYI, some employers will not accept your resignation letter because they really like it and don't want you to leave. Therefore, it is good that they value and appreciate you to the point where

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Whether or not your resignation is accepted by them, it is still your formal notification that you intend to leave. And the date your employment will officially end. Therefore, an employer is free to say that they do not want to accept it, which could be good or bad depending on their perspective. But it doesn't change the fact that you provided written notice that you plan to leave as of date X.

FYI, some employers will not accept your resignation letter because they really like it and don't want you to leave. So it's good that they value and appreciate you to the point where they're honestly sad that you want to leave. I've been in this situation before.

Other employers will not accept your resignation because they are upset that you plan to leave. So they want to get in your way by saying, "No, you can't go." Here, it is their attempt to force you to stay by letting you know that your notice will not be accepted, so it does not apply or mean anything unless they accept it. They may also not accept your letter because it will leave them understaffed or in a difficult position with deadlines, a contract, etc. Again, they are saying no to accept your resignation, so you will stay.

But as I mentioned earlier, you don't need their acceptance or not! Once you've provided your resignation letter, that's your official notice that you plan to leave. And yes, you can rescind your resignation if something changes. You can also change your departure date for any reason. So you are in control of your resignation, not theirs.

United Kingdom

No, it basically amounts to "slavery". Even things like “management contracts” and “non-compete” clauses need to be carefully worded for the Court to confirm. These clauses are often found in sports and entertainment contracts, and must be such that they do not completely restrict the other party's ability to earn a living.

And what is the employer going to do if you leave? Well, he could sue you to cover any financial losses (training costs, for example) but no court would order a "former" employee to return to work for his employer. On the one hand, discontent

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United Kingdom

No, it basically amounts to "slavery". Even things like “management contracts” and “non-compete” clauses need to be carefully worded for the Court to confirm. These clauses are often found in sports and entertainment contracts, and must be such that they do not completely restrict the other party's ability to earn a living.

And what is the employer going to do if you leave? Well, he could sue you to cover any financial losses (training costs, for example) but no court would order a "former" employee to return to work for his employer. For one thing, would the disgruntled employee actually do something productive? Very unlikely ... more likely to try to force the employer to summarily fire you. This means that the Court will issue a court order preventing the "former" employee from taking up a new position until the notice period is over, but your former employer must pay you as if you were at work. This is known as a "gardening license."

The most relevant case is possibly Sunrise Brokers v Rodgers. A senior executive wanted to leave immediately and not give 12 months' notice. He intended to join a competitor. His employers applied for a court order that prevented him from starting work until after the required notice period expired (he enforces the gardening license). Now, obviously, you don't want a high-level staff member joining a competitor to have the opportunity to obtain additional trade secrets, or to do something that could harm the company (such as putting a virus on computers, downloading a list of clients, subscribe board members to porn sites ...) so that the order did not mean that Rodgers had to go to the office every day;

So, strictly speaking, while an employer cannot reject your resignation entirely, it CAN enforce the terms of the contract as far as the notice goes.

They can ignore it or reject it, but that doesn't change anything. It would be slavery if a company could prevent you from leaving by simply ignoring your resignation.

End any notice period you have given them. If this is California, on your last day you go into HR with your hand outstretched. They must give you the final check and if they don't, they are in violation. That they have rejected your resignation (regardless of the reason they may give) will get you nowhere.

Other states have different rules, but at some point they have to give you a final check. Therefore, if they simply stop paying you when you are

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They can ignore it or reject it, but that doesn't change anything. It would be slavery if a company could prevent you from leaving by simply ignoring your resignation.

End any notice period you have given them. If this is California, on your last day you go into HR with your hand outstretched. They must give you the final check and if they don't, they are in violation. That they have rejected your resignation (regardless of the reason they may give) will get you nowhere.

Other states have different rules, but at some point they have to give you a final check. So if they just stop paying you when you don't show up, at some point they will be in violation in every state.

They can't lock you up (or lock you away) even if they can show that the whole company will fail if you leave. Too bad ... if you're that critical, they should have found a way to convince you to stay.

That happened to me once. I tried to speak to the boss (regional or division vice president, I forget after 30 years) first as a courtesy. He dodged me. He didn't want to see us.

My watch was ticking over the new job start date. Since he had avoided me, I put a letter on his desk and the hiring manager's desk, packed my things, took them out for the night, and then emailed everyone in the company who needed to know.

The people in my office, most of whom were hired by me or because of a contract I had won, wanted to have a party. It was at a local bar. The boss attended and was cold to me but he pretended

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That happened to me once. I tried to speak to the boss (regional or division vice president, I forget after 30 years) first as a courtesy. He dodged me. He didn't want to see us.

My watch was ticking over the new job start date. Since he had avoided me, I put a letter on his desk and the hiring manager's desk, packed my things, took them out for the night, and then emailed everyone in the company who needed to know.

The people in my office, most of whom were hired by me or because of a contract I had won, wanted to have a party. It was at a local bar. The boss attended and was cold to me, but pretended to be very cheerful.

I took him aside at one point and told him that I did my best to respect him, his position, and our friendship by informing him privately well in advance. Accepting that consideration was not up to me, but he must either acknowledge it or ignore it. I made the effort and my conscience was clear that I did the right thing.

I wished him well, and while he and I thrived in separate settings, we were never close again.

They are business. If you can't understand that up front, you end up with a lot of friends of convenience rather than lasting friendships.

Not a problem at least in the US All employment is considered At-Will (unless you have a legal contract such as an actress). At-will means that you can leave your job at any time and for any reason. There is no agreement or acceptance of your resignation. If you leave it, you leave it. It is good if you advise, but it is not a legal or other requirement. The resignation letter has ONE PURPOSE. The letter you send to the company should say that you are quitting your job and the last day you will be working there. The purpose of the letter is documentation for the Department of Labor if applicable.

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Not a problem at least in the US All employment is considered At-Will (unless you have a legal contract such as an actress). At-will means that you can quit your job at any time and for any reason. There is no agreement or acceptance of your resignation. If you leave it, you leave it. It is good if you advise, but it is not a legal or other requirement. The resignation letter has ONE PURPOSE. The letter you send to the company should say that you are quitting your job and the last day you will be working there. The purpose of the letter is documentation for the Department of Labor in the event you apply for unemployment benefits. You cannot collect unemployment if you quit (in most cases). Therefore, the company will need proof that you voluntarily resigned in case you apply. Then, Again, this concept that your employer won't “accept” you quit your job is ridiculous. It's like trying to leave the store and being told you don't have a permit. Ridiculous.

If you are an at-will employee (as the vast majority are), they may refuse to accept it, but you can still leave. What are they going to do? Try to close the doors to prevent her from leaving? If you're quitting and don't want to accept it, that's a shame and it's your problem.

Some bosses / managers also try to threaten people who are withholding payment due if they try to leave. This is highly illegal and they could face a severe lawsuit in addition to hefty fines from the Department of Labor. Don't be intimidated by a boss using this strategy, it's illegal. You got all the rigging

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If you are an at-will employee (as the vast majority are), they may refuse to accept it, but you can still leave. What are they going to do? Try to close the doors to prevent her from leaving? If you're quitting and don't want to accept it, that's a shame and it's your problem.

Some bosses / managers also try to threaten people who are withholding payment due if they try to leave. This is highly illegal and they could face a severe lawsuit in addition to hefty fines from the Department of Labor. Don't be intimidated by a boss using this strategy, it's illegal. You have every right to leave and to have all wages owed paid to you in a timely manner.

I have never observed a real refusal! Hopefully, an employment law attorney will respond, as I doubt that an actual denial is legal.

No worries, always a way to combat the absurd; Send the letter electronically to HR and your immediate supervisor, keeping copies of the emails for your protection. Please reference the refusal to accept the letter in your introduction email, along with your desire for a smooth transition. Provide a 2 business week notice.

My only goal at that time would be to ensure proper transfer and payment of funds (accumulated license). If things continue to be squirrels, brace yourself

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I have never observed a real refusal! Hopefully, an employment law attorney will respond, as I doubt that an actual denial is legal.

No worries, always a way to combat the absurd; Send the letter electronically to HR and your immediate supervisor, keeping copies of the emails for your protection. Please reference the refusal to accept the letter in your introduction email, along with your desire for a smooth transition. Provide a 2 business week notice.

My only goal at that time would be to ensure proper transfer and payment of funds (accumulated license). If things continue to be squirrels, prepare to leave the same day. If payments due from you are withheld, consult legal services.

They can ignore it all they want until the day it isn't there. That will get your attention!

I'm assuming you gave them one last day based on their new start date (by the way, it's rude to be late for a new job, but it's okay to not show up for a job you just quit).

That's the point: your resignation letter was a written notice. They can't play "selective amnesia" with a written notice (my point to all readers is to make sure it's in writing).

Now if you think they're sitting on it, just email everyone in your entire chain and remind them of your last day.

Then report to HR (or whatever happens

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They can ignore it all they want until the day it isn't there. That will get your attention!

I'm assuming you gave them one last day based on their new start date (by the way, it's rude to be late for a new job, but it's okay to not show up for a job you just quit).

That's the point: your resignation letter was a written notice. They can't play "selective amnesia" with a written notice (my point to all readers is to make sure it's in writing).

Now if you think they're sitting on it, just email everyone in your entire chain and remind them of your last day.

Then show up at HR (or whatever goes through HR) around the last day to "process" (or whatever goes through that). You may need to resolve any unused PTO (sick and vacation days).

  • If it's an office job, write a good comment to your boss.

But let me repeat for emphasis, your last day is your last day. You won't quit to make them happy, you found a better job to make them happy.

Edit: Ignoring it also implies that they did not make a counter offer. Apparently they don't want you to leave and imagine that if they ignore the problem it will go away. That could be a clue as to why you are leaving in the first place.

Steve Heckman's answer to Why is accepting a counter offer a big mistake?

Don't forget your exit interview. Just tone it down ...

I suppose it could be, but when you don't show up for work, is someone sure to call you ?! (Lone Pigeon: Someone is thinking "Why doesn't he write?" While looking at the skeleton of a person with an arrow in his chest while his car passes by the road ...). If you quit, the company only has to pay you until the day you quit, but (in the US at least) it has to offer you certain benefits (if you have benefits) for a time. They can also offer you a severance package, but that usually only happens if you get fired or have a downsizing or leave. Most likely once you submit and

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I suppose it could be, but when you don't show up for work, is someone sure to call you ?! (Lone Pigeon: Someone is thinking "Why doesn't he write?" While looking at the skeleton of a person with an arrow in his chest while his car passes by the road ...). If you quit, the company only has to pay you until the day you quit, but (in the United States at least) it has to offer you certain benefits (if you have benefits) for a period of time. They can also offer you a severance package, but that usually only happens if you get fired or have a downsizing or leave. Chances are, once you send your letter, the company won't want you anymore and you'll be out the door quickly with all your worldly possessions in a cardboard box ... JS

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