Best Resignation Letters for Quitting a Toxic Work Environment

Best Resignation Letters for Quitting a Toxic Work Environment

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Quitting a toxic work environment can be very liberating. But before you get to breathe in that fresh air of freedom (at last), you have to put your resignation into writing. 

The best resignation letters for quitting a toxic work environment summarize the unsatisfactory conditions the resignee suffered while maintaining their professionalism and grace at work. It may also give at least two weeks’ notice and an offer of cooperation in addressing any related issues.

In this article, I will examine the elements that make up the best resignation letters and provide you with some great examples you can follow. 

Resignation Letter Due to Toxic Work Environment

When you’ve finally had enough of the toxicity in your workplace, one of the first and most important things you have to do is give your notice of resignation. Depending on what you have endured during your time with the company, you may be tempted to pen a scathing letter. 

Maintaining professionalism can be understandably challenging under these circumstances.

However, gracefully informing your superior of your resignation can prevent the situation from escalating into one that neither you nor your employer wants to deal with. 

Moreover, everything you do during and after your exit from your company may be accounted for by the company you are leaving — and, possibly, any you hope to work for in the future. 

Resignation Letter Samples

Relating your negative experiences in a professional manner can be a tall order, especially if you endured discrimination or harassment in the workplace. The right words may be hard to find. 

So, here are some samples that can guide you in crafting your own professional resignation letter.

Sample 1 – Resignation Letter Due to Hostility

Dear Mr./Ms. [Manager Name]:

This is my notice that I will be resigning from my position as [job title] with [name of company] effective 2 weeks from [the date of writing]. 

This company was once a place where I felt I could grow professionally, and indeed I have done that. However, the promotion I was recently rewarded with has brought hostility from my colleagues, which has grown more severe each passing day. 

As a result, I have been unable to maintain the work ethic and productivity that has gotten me promoted in the first place. Therefore, I can no longer carry on working at this company, and I apologize for the inconvenience that may come with my resignation. 

Rest assured, I am willing to assist with this transitional period. 

Should you need to reach me, you may do so at [phone number] or send a reply to this email.

Yours sincerely,

Signature

Mr. John Smith, [job title]

Sample 2 – Resignation Letter Due to Harassment or Discrimination

Dear Mr./Ms. [Manager Name]:

I hereby tender my resignation with immediate effect. 

In my last few months with [name of company], I have been subjected to [type of harassment/ discrimination] in the workplace which has been both frequent and severe.

This nightmare has interfered with my focus and productivity and has been detrimental to my mental health. It has reached a point where I can no longer carry out the duties expected of me. I believe my experience is something that no one should have to battle with daily at work. Therefore, I have decided to resign from my position.

If you need any additional information, you may reach me at [phone number] or send me an email to [email address]. 

Yours sincerely,

Signature

Mr. John Smith, [job title]

Sample 3 – Resignation Letter Due to Company Culture

Dear Mr./Ms. [Manager Name]:

I am writing to inform you of my resignation effective two weeks from [the date of writing]. The past [employment period] I spent with [name of company] has been the most fulfilling of my life. However, as the company forges its path into the future, its values and mine diverge more and more. As my ideals no longer align with the company’s and those of my colleagues, I have come to the conclusion that I am no longer a good fit for it moving forward. 

I thank you for the privilege of working with you and ask that you please accept my resignation. I apologize for whatever inconvenience this may bring. If there is any way I can assist with the transition, do contact me at [phone number] and [email address]. 

Yours sincerely,

Signature

Mr. John Smith, [job title]

Sample 4 – Resignation Letter Due to Dissatisfaction

Dear Mr./Ms. [Manager Name]:

I am writing to inform you of my resignation effective 2 weeks from [the date of writing]. 

I have been with [name of company] for [employment period] and have given my all to this company. However, I feel that I have not received the due recognition or compensation for my efforts and this dissatisfaction has significantly hampered my work performance.

If I chose to continue working under these circumstances, my professional growth would only stagnate and I believe that parting ways with the company would be for the best — not only for me but also for the organization at large.

Therefore, I ask that you accept my resignation and my apologies for the inconvenience that may follow as a result. I am making myself available for whatever assistance you may need for a smooth transition. You may reach me at [phone number] if I can be of any help.

Yours sincerely,

Signature

Mr. John Smith, [job title]

A Toxic Work Environment

As of June 2022, the unemployment rate in the United States is 3.6 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Willingly joining the ranks of the unemployed is certainly not a step taken lightly. Among the most commonly cited reasons for this difficult decision is a toxic work environment. 

One Forbes article identified toxic work culture as the top driving force behind employee resignations. So, you’re definitely not alone.

But what exactly is a toxic work environment?

According to Merriam-Webster, the word toxic means “extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful.”;

This can describe a workplace that becomes unbearable or difficult to work with due to — among other things — the unprofessional conduct of a manager, supervisor, employees of the same rank, and even your clients. 

There are even some situations where the company culture is a contributing factor to workplace toxicity.

Tom Miller, the CEO of ClearForce, puts his take on a toxic work environment in very simple terms — i.e., it includes the following characteristics: 

  • Below average or unfair compensation
  • Failure to offer recognition or incentives for exceptional performance
  • Fosters a “customer is always right” mentality at the cost of employees
  • Gives little (if any) voice to employees
  • Trust between employer and employee is minimal, if not absent
  • Few clear boundaries between work and personal life

Additionally, some behaviors may create an unpleasant environment for employees — although a co-worker’s irksome personality may not necessarily cause a toxic workplace (at least, not legally speaking).

That said, some aspects of a toxic workplace can cross into unlawful territory where discrimination or sexual harassment is involved.

Discrimination

There is legislation in place to protect employees from discrimination and to (theoretically) protect employees who have made complaints or filed charges of discrimination. 

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers cannot discriminate against employees on the basis of:

  • Color
  • National origin
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex (including gender identities that fall under the LGBTQIA+ spectrum)

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is also considered a form of sex discrimination according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

In the workplace, this may include: 

  • Offensive remarks relating to a person’s sex (or gender identity)
  • Requests for sexual favors
  • Unwanted sexual advances
  • Other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature

Moreover, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission notes that the law does not explicitly prohibit:

  • Teasing
  • Offhand remarks
  • Isolated minor incidents

To be considered unlawful, the harassment should be “frequent or severe.” You will need to meet specific legal criteria to file charges for sexual harassment. The same goes for discrimination. 

However, if you just want to walk away from a work environment that has become toxic for reasons completely unrelated to harassment or discrimination, a resignation letter will suffice.

In addition, it would be best not to name the person or persons who have wronged you in the resignation letter. After all, the corporate world is a small one: You never know who you might run into in your next workplace, even if you decide to venture into a different industry. 

Instead, you can leave your contact details so the company can reach you for additional information should they opt to launch an investigation into the matter.

Final Thoughts

Writing and turning in a good resignation letter will help your superiors understand your reasons for deciding to leave the company. You can hope that they will be alerted to the issues that led to your resignation in the first place, but I suggest not counting on it. Besides, you may just end up doing the other employees a favor with this last act. 

Sources

About The Author

Nathan Brunner
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Nathan Brunner is a mathematician who cares about the job market.

He is the owner of Salarship, a job search engine where less-skilled candidates can find accessible employment opportunities.