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What to say in a resignation letter when you're leaving due to sexual harassment?

Tacoma, WA |

I have only been employed for one month. After about 2 weeks my boss started harassing me. . I reported it through our anonymous hotline/website. I submitted a detailed written report with the incidences including those of 2 other female employees. Even though I submitted anonymous, I did name my one witness to one incident. 3 work days later my witness nor myself or any other coworkers were contacted. However I had suspicion my boss, the accused had been. My witness then called HR who in turn told her to give names. I ok'd this and another 3 days went before I got an email from HR. 2 days later she scheduled a call with me. No other employees have yet been contacted. The Hr call was very upsetting and still no investigation. I don't feel safe returning monday. Have lawyer appt.

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Attorney answers 3


I would highly suggest that you retain an attorney BEFORE preparing and submitting a resignation letter. You may also be hurting your case by resigning. Do not do anything until you meet with an attorney and discuss your situation. Set an appointment with an attorney who specializes in employment law and sexual harassment cases. Then after a thorough review of all of the facts, they can give you an opinion as to whether you have a viable claim, and what procedural steps you should take. Most attorneys handle these cases on a contingency percentage fee, taking a percentage of the recovery. There are no hourly fees and most attorneys do not charge anything for an initial appointment to discuss your case. Good luck, my friend. Check Avvo website for attorneys in your locale who handle these types of cases.

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I am sorry to hear about the harassment by your new employer. From your question, it sounds like you are taking the right steps to bring this matter up with the HR department. It is not unreasonable to expect and ask for a prompt response, to address any ongoing issues.

However, a voluntary quit or resignation is only recommended in extreme cases. If you resign from employment it may complicate your ability to receive unemployment compensation, and can also compromise your ability to pursue a claim for wrongful termination. Generally, in Washington, an employee who resigns must prove a constructive discharge in order to pursue a claim for wrongful termination. To prove constructive discharge, an employee must show (1) the employer deliberately made the employee's working conditions intolerable; (2) a reasonable person would be forced to resign; (3) the employee resigned solely because of the intolerable conditions; and (4) the employee suffered damages. An employee's frustration, and even receipts of direct or indirect negative remarks, is not enough to show intolerable working conditions. A voluntary resignation occurs when an employee abandons the employment because of a desire to leave. A resignation will still be voluntary when an employee resigns because he or she is dissatisfied with the working conditions.

Therefore, unless you truly have an emergency involving intolerable harassment, I would recommend you consult with an attorney so you can develop a good understanding of your rights.

Talis Abolins
Campbell Dille Barnett & Smith, PLLC
Puyallup Washington



Thank you for the advice...It definitely helps. I have an appointment this week.


Talk to your lawyer before resigning. If you wit before giving the employer a fair chance to investigate and resolve the problem, it could hurt your lawsuit.

More facts could change the answer. This response is not legal advice.

Kevin Rindler Madison

Kevin Rindler Madison


I agree with Michael Smith that it would hurt your case if you resign.