FAQ: Should I Resign

Question

“Last week they [federal agency] decided to fire me.  Should I just resign?  If I resign, what will show in my OPF?”

Answer

Since we do not know the specifics of your situation, and our advice is always fact driven, we will respond generally.  In short, the decision to resign is very personal.  As such, you should seek objective advice and consultation at least from a friend,a union representative, even a consultant. Definitely take some time to make the decision.  However, it is generally preferable to leave under your own terms, rather than being fired (removed or terminated).  Such a decision may preserve future employment consideration, but may make you ineligible for unemployment compensation.  Check your specific state unemployment laws.

What makes it into your OPF (Official Personnel Folder) depends and is, in large part, discretionary.  For example, probationary employees do not have appeal rights whereas those not serving on a probationary appointment have appeal rights.  Subsequently, when a probationary employee is terminated from employment, the Agency may not place agency comments or findings in the employee’s OPF or performance folder or on the SF-50 or SF-52.  Whereas, when an employee with appeal rights is removed from employment (“fired”), and he or she has been notified in writing of an agency action, prior to submission of the resignation, Agency findings (basis for action in addition to the actual code effecting a removal, known as a NOAC) are generally documented in the OPF.

Regardless, even if you are in a category in which the Agency may document negative findings (i.e. “in lieu of resignations”), you can negotiate a “clean slate” resignation under some conditions with the exception of gross misconduct.  A “clean slate” resignation is one in which the agency does not negatively annotate the SF-52 or SF-50 inserted in your OPF.  Instead, it would typically reflect “resigned for personal reasons.”  It is important any such arrangement be made prior to the affectation of the removal.  Most ELR Specialists will oppose any attempt otherwise as it would require cancellation of the removal action, which is more complicated.

Are you facing a hostile work environment, workplace discrimination, or proposed removal?

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