How to Resign From a Hostile Job

When there's no way to keep the peace, resign gracefully.

When there's no way to keep the peace, resign gracefully.

A hostile workplace can turn an otherwise dream job into a nightmare scenario. If you've experienced hostility in your workplace and have gone through the protocols of informing the offenders -- in a calm and non-offensive manner -- of the problem, and have also gone to your supervisors and human resources department to discuss the problem, the next step is to consider leaving the job altogether. While it can be difficult to leave without blowing off some steam, do what you can to remain calm and professional as you make your exit.

Write down all of the information you can think of regarding the situation, in case you need to file a harassment claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission later. Write down the dates, times and people you spoke with, and the nature of your conversation.

Remove your personal items in a discrete manner, well before you hand in your resignation. Avoid any conflict that may arise by your employer asking you to leave immediately following your resignation by removing your stuff in advance.

Type your resignation letter, and specifically state the reasons you are leaving. Be as diplomatic as possible and do not use overly dramatic language, so that if you have to show the letter to an attorney, it's clear that you tried to be professional throughout the process. Include your date of departure in the letter -- but keep in mind that you may be asked to leave immediately following your resignation. Sign and date the letter, and keep a copy for your own records.

Ask your boss for a one-on-one meeting, and then hand him your resignation letter during the meeting. Stay calm and professional during this meeting, and avoid getting emotional.

Talk with the human resources department about conducting an exit interview before you leave the office. During the exit interview, review the issues you've had with the workplace, focusing on the facts and not emotions.

Avoid interacting with the hostile people as you leave the workplace. While it may feel good to give them one last word, it's best to avoid conflict and focus your energy on finding another job.

Tip

  • According to the EEOC, harassment is illegal when a reasonable person considers someone's conduct to be "intimidating, hostile or abusive." Since employers can be liable for lawsuits if they know about a problem and don't attempt to correct it, it's a good idea to speak with your supervisors or human resources officers as soon as you experience any type of harassment. If you've done this and did not see any results, it may be worthwhile to consult with an attorney about pursuing a lawsuit.
 

About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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