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Thread: Forced resignation vs Voluntary Michigan Michigan

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    Default Forced resignation vs Voluntary Michigan Michigan

    Do to some personal issues my spouse was asked to resign several years ago from her employer. She was a union employee and given the choice to resign or be let go. In talking with HR, and her union rep, she was told that if she resigned she would not receive a negative reference for future employment purposes. Well several years have passed and she has the opportunity for full time employment once again. During the reference check process, they contacted her former supervisor and asked the reason for separation; she told them that she was forced to resign. Is this legal? We reside in the state of Michigan.

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    Unless she had something in writing that a negative reference included the reason for separation, it is legal. It would be very rare and very unwise of the employer to agree to lie about the reason for separation but it is pretty common to agree not to provide a negative reference as to work ability, personality, skills, etc.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElleMD View Post
    Unless she had something in writing that a negative reference included the reason for separation, it is legal. It would be very rare and very unwise of the employer to agree to lie about the reason for separation but it is pretty common to agree not to provide a negative reference as to work ability, personality, skills, etc.
    Thanks so much for your quick response. Am I then getting wrapped up in the verbiage of voluntary versus forced? If she agreed to a voluntary resignation, then how could her supervisor say it was forced? I think this "separation" with her previous employer would have been a sticky one at the time with the union involved so they agreed to part ways on a voluntary basis. This just throws up a potential red flag with her new employer that she was "forced" to resign. I believe this was documented, she just needs to find the paperwork. Thanks again!

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    If she agreed to a voluntary resignation, then how could her supervisor say it was forced? Because it was. All the supervisor did was tell the truth. That does not give rise to a cause of action unless there was a written and binding agreement both parties entered into that something else would be said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparty4601 View Post
    If she agreed to a voluntary resignation, then how could her supervisor say it was forced?
    Agree with Beth - because it was. She was "forced" to either voluntarily resign or be terminated/let go. (minus a binding agreement/contract that something else would be said the supervisor did not say anything wrong)
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    I would consider this a resignation in lieu of termination and that's how I would report it.

    If the employee did not resign, she would have been terminated.
    I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.
    Thomas Jefferson

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    I agree with Morgana. Further, depending upon the iundustry, the employer could be in major hot water if they do not disclose that it was a resignation in lieu of termination or anything other than an entirely voluntary act on behalf of your wife. I am in one such industry.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElleMD View Post
    I agree with Morgana. Further, depending upon the iundustry, the employer could be in major hot water if they do not disclose that it was a resignation in lieu of termination or anything other than an entirely voluntary act on behalf of your wife. I am in one such industry.
    Well an update to the post. We found the agreement which was signed by my wife, HR, and the union. It states in writing that no one from her former department shall provide reference to her employment. It also states that HR will provide a “neutral” reference, and that her record will indicate a voluntary resignation.

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    If you have a contract in writing then you will need to take it to a lawyer to see if it is truly enforceable and if it was, if the information shared was in violation. No one here can comment on a contract we have not read in its entirety.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    Again, depends on the industry. If there are legal requirements in a particular industry (child care for example), then a private agreement between parties cannot make the legal requirements go away. Even with no legal requirements, does the agreement actually specify penalties if the agreement is violated?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
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    No it doesn't... and I don't want to come across wrong here... as a sue happy person- that's not my intent. My wife has always been classified as a high performer, this was primarily an administrative/support position with a great organization, and she made a mistake (outside of work). There are extenuating circumstances (again- outside of work) that would have caused this individual (manager giving the reference) to slander my wife because of a personal grudge. Several years have passed, Michigan is a tough economy, and because of this individuals comments (breaching a signed agreement), an excellent employment opportunity is now on hold. Her former union is now running with this and has been supplied with all of the documentation. Again, thank you for everyone's comments.

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    What did the background/reference check authorization from the new company state? I wonder if by chance her signing that overrode (since it is a later date) the agreement with the old company? or if there was language that did ? I know ours is an "any and all information" and "release all parties, such persons, and the prospective employer from
    liability for any damage that may result from furnishing the information to the prospective employer"...so to me this would override any agreement with the prior company since I absolved them from any liability. So I would check into that or at least provide that along with the old agreement to a local employment attorney.

    In cases like this, I would suggest that your wife be upfront prior to a reference check that she resigned from that position voluntarily in lieu of termination, because she now knows it is possible that her agreement won't stand up. I'd be curious if and what she told them during the interview process or if anything was asked.

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