A resignation from employment may be caused by a variety of factors. However, there are a few things you should be aware of before quitting your employment to preserve your legal protection.

How should one quit from their employment?

Most companies consider it respectful for departing employees to provide advance notice. Although this is a best practice, it is not a legal requirement under the Employment Standards Act of British Columbia. Note, however, that if an employee departs without providing adequate notice and this results in commercial losses for the employer, the employee may be accountable for these losses. 

Reviewing one’s employment agreement is a good idea for any worker considering leaving, since it may require them to provide a certain notice period. This is a typical provision in employment contracts, notably for management and higher-level positions.

As a matter of protocol, notice is preferable to be given in writing or by electronic means.

There is nothing wrong with quitting your job if you and your employer have a good relationship and you are leaving to pursue other opportunities or start a new chapter in your life.

But suppose you do not get along very well with your employer and you’re considering quitting your job because you are unsatisfied with your working conditions. Before quitting your work, it is suggested that you consult with an employment attorney if your employer is modifying the conditions of your employment or if you are being subjected to harassment, discrimination, or bullying. In this sort of scenario, resigning prematurely may impair any prospective legal claims you may have.

Employee knowledge

Restrictive covenants include restrictions such as non-competition and non-solicitation that might affect your capacity to work in the same industry if you quit your current job. Before quitting your work, if your employment contract contains a restrictive covenant, you should speak with an employment attorney to determine whether or not these restrictions are enforceable.

Is a job-protected leave a preferable alternative to my resignation?

In some situations, it may be preferable for an employee to take a job-protected leave rather than resign. This would include situations like a medical leave.

It is vital to note that if you quit, your employer will not provide you with severance pay. Before leaving your work, you may want to consult with an employment attorney about how quitting would impact your eligibility to receive Employment Insurance.

Employer knowledge

When it comes to workers resigning, employers must also adhere to best practices.

1. Ensure workers get correct last compensation under the BC Employment Standards Act.

When an employee provides notice of resignation, employers have the option of allowing the employee to complete the balance of the notice period or terminating employment immediately. 

If the employer decides to terminate the employee’s employment immediately, the minimum severance compensation specified by the Employment Standards Act must be paid.

2. Resignation should never be a condition of not accepting changes to the job.

Not in any way should employees be given choices such as “accept this change or quit” from their employers. If an employer wishes to undertake a big change in the workplace without incurring unanticipated liabilities, they should contact an employment attorney.

3. Do not accept the resignation of an emotionally distraught employee quickly.

As an employer, it is recommended not to quickly accept the resignation of an employee who resigns after a difficult or emotionally charged contact at work. Rather, it is preferable to give the employee a day or two to quiet down and then follow up with them to see whether they actually intend to resign. This simple measure may be an effective strategy to shield oneself against future legal action. A resignation must be clear and voluntary; in rare instances, it has been determined that an employee who departs in the heat of the moment has not resigned lawfully.

Questions regarding resignation or any other aspect of the workplace? We’re here to assist, whether you’re an employee or an employer. You can contact us here to talk with one of our employment attorneys.

Leave a comment