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I resigned my position, but then changed my mind. My employer would not accept my decision to rescind my resignation. What can I do?

Wednesday October 3, 2012
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Dear Nancy,

Do employers have the right to not accept my decision to rescind (in writing) my resignation, when there are no reports of poor job performance? There was no malice reflected in either letter I submitted. A non-nurse executive director, who is very politically motivated, made this decision.

My supervisor and co-workers were devastated and confused by the ruling and suspect discrimination may be involved. I am in recovery for substance abuse and in good standing in the Board of Nursing's peer assistance program. I am nearly out of money, because of difficulty finding another job, and cannot afford an attorney. I have reported the incident to the civil rights office at our institution. They plan to look into it, but that won't help me survive in the meantime. What can I do?


Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Evelyn,

There are probably more circumstances to this situation that would need to be explored to provide a more specific response. Although you indicated you could not afford an attorney at this time, a consultation with a nurse attorney or attorney would be in your best interest and may not be as costly as you think. Some attorneys will provide a free consultation, while others may charge only an hourly fee for the consultation.

Some general comments can be made here. It is not clear what kind of discrimination you are referring to, but if it is because you are a recovering nurse, the Americans with Disabilities Act protects you against discrimination in hiring, firing, promotion and other decisions in the workplace. A suit could be filed if this was the type of discrimination you think occurred, but you will need an attorney.

If you think the discrimination was based on your gender, race, color or religion, you could file a complaint without an attorney with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. You can locate the EEOC office nearest you by going online or checking your phonebook under Federal Government agencies.

Keep in mind, though, it seems you resigned your position and the employer did not accept your change of mind. More details about this would need to be explored during your consultation with the attorney of your choice to determine whether there is any legal recourse for you.


Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.