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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Resignation Complicates Worker’s Bid for Benefits

(CN) - An Illinois public employee who resigned and then returned to work for one week might not be eligible for unemployment benefits, a state appeals court ruled.

Shelley Scott, the finance director for the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District resigned, quit her job voluntarily after anonymously reporting that her supervisor had improperly handled the district's funds.

Scott's letter of resignation, effective "immediately," cited difficulties with her supervisor as her reason for leaving.

The district's board chairwoman, Carol Elliott, asked Scott if she would be willing to stay if her supervisor was no longer working there. Scott said she would.

That day, Scott's supervisor was suspended, and Scott returned to work the following week.

During that week, Scott worked on the budget, went home sick twice, negotiated a severance package, and was finally told that her resignation became final when she handed in her letter one week earlier.

She then applied for unemployment benefits, which the Department of Employment Security granted. The district appealed the decision, but the trial court sided with Scott.

Typically, if an employee quits, she is only eligible for unemployment benefits if she resigned for a valid reason caused by the employer.

The 4th District Appellate Court in Springfield, Ill., reversed, ruling that a public officer's resignation can't be taken back.

"When a public officer tenders a letter of resignation, the resignation is an unalterable fact, and the officer cannot withdraw the resignation and negate it by continuing to perform the job," Judge Steigmann wrote.

The court ordered the Board of Review to revisit the case without considering any of Scott's actions after her resignation.

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