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A coerced resignation: consequences for an employer

A coerced resignation: consequences for an employer

LEGAL DIGEST \ 20.03.2019

The Federal Labor and Employment Service (known in Russian as ‘Rostrud’) has once again reminded an employer that it may face administrative liability for coercing an employee to give notice of his/her resignation.

When implementing redundancies, some companies are tempted to save money on severance payments by coercing their employees to resign. An employee may apply to a court even in this case and prove that he/she was coerced to resign. There are no still clear-cut criteria in legislation that allow the fact of pressure on the employer’s side to be established. Yet, it can be concluded from the court practice that the following actions are regarded as coercion:

  • physical duress on an employee;
  • psychological pressure, including the creation of unfavourable working conditions and illegal use of disciplinary sanctions;
  • threats that undue influence may be exerted, which could entail adverse consequences not only for the employee but also for those close to him/her.

Courts may accept the following circumstances as evidence of coercion to resign:

  • an attempt to revoke the notice of resignation before the termination date of the employment agreement;
  • there being remarks about disagreement with the resignation;
  • witnesses being ready to confirm that the employer’s decision was illegal;
  • a statement or a notification being sent to the management stating that there was coercion to draw up a notice of resignation.

If a court establishes that an employee has been coerced to resign, the employer can have administrative liability imposed for violating employment legislation. In this case, the following sanctions can be imposed:

  • on officers – a warning, or a fine ranging from RUB 1,000 to RUB 5,000;
  • for legal entities – the monetary sanction is much greater and ranges from RUB 30,000 to RUB 50,000.

In addition, the employer will have to restore the employee to his/her position, pay his/her average salary for the period of forced absence, pay compensation for moral harm and even reimburse his/her legal expenses.

You can always contact Acsour’s specialists with questions concerning how to apply Russian employment legislation.