Note: With respect to the possible duplicate of the question relating to "badmouthing a previous employer" - there is no intent on doing such a thing, I am asking for the diplomatic way out re both providing a resignation from the organization below, and the approach with explaining why I left the organization without mentioning the organization's apparent stance on bullying that has led to my departure.

I have been working for a particular organization for the past fifteen months and have been the target of bullying for the past nine months. The impact that this bullying has had has ranged from lost focus and concentration, a drop in my performance, anxiety and panic episodes, feelings of fear, belittlement, uselessness and intimidation, diagnoses of anxiety and depression (for which I'm now taking medication to combat), as well as the occasional ideation of suicide (of which I'm thankful I have not entertained). During these past nine months, I have also had several restrictions placed on me that other colleagues do not have, which has had me working about three times as hard to achieve the same result, amidst the bullying I experienced day to day.

I have approached my manager with regards to the bullying over the months by the person responsible, and investigations have led to the person having conveniently been unable to recall events on specific days (one example which involved him following me around the office on four separate instances within ten minutes admonishing me for asking someone else instead of him over a technical matter, and adding a veiled threat to speak with my manager if I didn't comply with his request).

This has all come to a point where yesterday my manager and an HR representative called me in to inform that there has been a decision to recommend the termination of my position due to poor work performance (caused by the bullying). When I again detailed the various instances of the bullying and restrictions that I have been subjected to, these points were glossed over and the instances of bullying were deemed not significant enough to warrant further investigation.

I have considered an alternative exit strategy to termination with tending a resignation (a strategy mentioned by the HR rep at the meeting), but this leads to two questions:

  1. With respect to tending a resignation to an organization that seems to condone bullying, what does one say in such a resignation letter?
  2. With any interviews I have in the future with any prospective employer, what do I say with regards to the reasons behind my leaving an organization that condones bullying?

Appreciate your thoughts.

  • 5
    I have to VTC, as this doesn't belong in TheWorkplace. Too broad. Personally - You need to talk to an attorney, and don't sign anything if you intend to pursue any sort of civil action. Nov 29, 2017 at 23:45
  • 1
    @WesleyLong, I have no intention of filing any form of civil action against this organization. My intention is to simply resign and move on. Pursuing legal action is not the route I wish to take, and I can no longer see myself continuing to work for an organization like this that while in one breath advocates for a zero-tolerance policy regarding bullying, only to condone it in the next. Nov 29, 2017 at 23:47
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    You may still want to consult a lawyer because leaving strategy might have different consequences. Resignation in most places won’t give you any form of unployment benefit. Termination may have impact on your future job prospects and mitigating it with lawsuit for toxic work environment may be a good and achievable option.
    – Zefiryn
    Nov 29, 2017 at 23:57
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    Which country? In many places, allowing you to be bullied would be constructive dismissal.
    – gnasher729
    Nov 30, 2017 at 7:21
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Why is it not a good idea to "badmouth" a previous employer? Nov 30, 2017 at 8:34

3 Answers 3


Simply say, you are resigning effective immediately or Dec 1 or whenever you want as your last date. A resignation letter should never be more than that one sentence. No other information is required or appropriate.

  • 1
    This is the only right answer. The only way to professionally resign is to never mention a reason. In the best case it doesn't hurt and in the worst case it stirs up people's feelings, damaging your reputation. If you have to mention why you're leaving for your own personal peace, do it in the exit interview. If there's not one planned, plan one yourself and do it there but don't put it in your resignation letter.
    – Cronax
    Nov 30, 2017 at 16:58
  • Here is a link to the perfect resignation letter Sep 3, 2019 at 15:40

With respect to tending a resignation to an organization that seems to condone bullying, what does one say in such a resignation letter?

The same as you would say in any other resignation letter. This question is quite personal, as it is up to you what to write on that letter.

What I can suggest is that you try to keep it professional, so try to refrain from venting out your discomfort or anger on that letter. Maybe you were victim of bullying and pranks, but that does not mean you should lower your professional standards when communicating.

At most you could try saying that it was because of personal reasons related to the work environment of that company, and that you didn't feel comfortable there. You could try mention the bullying or offending coworker(s), but given what you describe I doubt they will do anything about it.

Still, you could try expressing such thing in the letter in a polite way, with the hopes that maybe they will think twice and do something about it after you are gone. You will be doing a favor to the company by providing them positive feedback they can work on.

With any interviews I have in the future with any prospective employer, what do I say with regards to the reasons behind my leaving an organization that condones bullying?

Definitely I do not recommend badmouthing previous companies or coworkers. It's just not my style, and you never know when the things you say may come bite your tail (work karma they call it).

For this, a simple "I did not feel comfortable with the work culture there" should suffice. If they insist on details (which I doubt) you can politely reply "I'd rather not disclose more about that, I don't feel comfortable doing so. But what I can tell you is that the work culture here seems to be more of my liking so far."

This way you are also putting back on track the interview, while politely answering that question.


The resignation letter does not need to cite details about why you are leaving.

If they ask (exit interview, casually, or otherwise), you do not need to hide the truth. It does you little good to hide the truth. Even if it makes you uncomfortable, it is still good to just say it anyway. "So why are you leaving anyway?" "Because of the hostile work environment here that is being tolerated." Politely. There is no need to be hostile about it.

I actually did this when switching to my current job. My manager at my last employer knew full well why I left; I did not hide the truth. And even at my current job, when they asked why I am seeking a change of employer, I just matter-of-factly told them "A hostile work environment, including bullying and religious persecution." No details at that time, just a sentence-fragment explanation. They were satisfied, and I was hired.

It is possible this could lengthen your job search. You have to decide if that is acceptable to you. I know with near-complete certainty that one job prospect I had was lost in the end because of just such a comment - I talked later to someone I knew on the inside, without telling him first what happened, and he confirmed it.

Whether the truth helps, hurts, or is neutral depends on the person who hears it; you will never know how it will be taken. It has turned some hiring managers off, but some are happy to find people who are not "yes-men." If you miss out on certain jobs because they don't like the truth, that sounds like a dodged bullet to me.

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