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Forced to resign?

If you leave your job because your employer has forced, convinced, persuaded or intimidated you into quitting, you may still be legally regarded as dismissed.


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 workers to resign, they will not be accused of dismissing them unfairly. However, if a worker can prove that they had no choice but to resign, it can still be unfair dismissal. (Sometimes this is called 'constructive dismissal.')

A dismissal is only unfair if it is harsh, unjust or unreasonable or it is for an invalid reason – for example, discrimination.

Unfair dismissal and unlawful termination claims generally must be made within 21 days.

These types of dismissal claims ('constructive dismissal') can be hard to prove.  Use your employer's grievance procedures and get advice before resigning.

If you resigned because of sexual harassment or because you were discriminated against because of:

you can make a complaint under state or federal equal opportunity laws. If you live in South Australia, you may be able to lodge a complaint with us. See Making a complaint.

Related information

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