Jump to Content

Forcing staff to resign

If you force, convince, persuade or intimidate staff into resigning, they may be able to claim that they have been dismissed. (This is sometimes called 'constructive dismissal.')

Example

Li was sexually harassed at work. She told her employers but they did nothing to stop it. She resigned because she thought it was her only option. Li could claim she was dismissed.

Some employers think that by getting staff to resign they will not be accused of dismissing them unfairly.  If one of your staff can prove that they had no choice but to resign, it can still be unfair dismissal.

Dismissal (or 'constructive dismissal') is only against the law if it is harsh, unjust or unreasonable, or if it is for an invalid reason such as discrimination.

If one of your staff resigns because of sexual harassment or because they were discriminated against because of their age, caring responsibilities, chosen gender, disability, marital or domestic partnership status, pregnancy, race, religious appearance or dress, sex, sexuality, spouse or partner’s identity, religion, political opinion or social origin, they can make a complaint under state or federal equal opportunity laws.

If they live in South Australia, they may lodge a complaint with us.  If a complaint is made against you, see Complaints lodged with the Equal Opportunity Commission for information on how to respond.