Do people voluntarily quit out of protest?

Or do they get into fights over their disagreement and get pressured to leave?

Because on the face of it, hearing about some subdued scandal where somebody quits out of protest makes you think, “wow, there must have been something really morally repugnant there.” But what’s the straight dope on interpreting such things when you read them in the news?

Sure. The situation at the husband’s former workplace is grim (we get updates from the employees). The owner is pig headed and has been running the place into the ground for the last 4 years. Last week, two employees started arguing with the owner about yet another stupid backasswards thing he wanted to do. They both walked out.

I should clarify, I mean high-up people in response to something specific. Ugh, I can’t name an example right now…

Do you mean like if a president wanted to do something and a staff member felt it was illegal or unethical and was unable to convince the president of that so resigned in protest? That type of situation?

Editors for newspapers (not me).

Cyrus Vance, Carter’s Secretary of State, resigned in protest of Carter’s attempt to rescue the US hostages held in Iran in 1980.

So, yes.

For normal people (as in you or me), wouldn’t being pressured to leave constitute ‘constructive dismissal’ and be grounds for litigation?

The most famous example of this is probably the “Saturday Night Massacre” that occurred in the latter days of the Nixon administration.

It started when Archie Cox, the special prosecutor appointed to investigate the Watergate scandal, said Nixon’s proposed compromise about what documents to hand over in response to a subpoena was insufficient. Cox worked for the Justice Department, so Nixon told Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire him. Richardson refused, and resigned in protest instead.

That made Solicitor General Robert Bork (Bork Bork) acting head of the Justice Department, so Nixon told him to fire Cox. Bork did so, leading Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to also resign (though some say he was fired.)

There are all kinds of flavors of high-profile departures:

[li]Subordinate truly resigns in protest of actions of superiors.[/li][li]Superior determines that subordinate is insubordinate, pressures to resign. Subordinate saves face by sour-grapes claim of protest, or announces that he is leaving to spend more time with his family[/li][li]Subordinate and superior have a reasonable difference of opinion or subordinate becomes a liability, and mutually agree that a resignation is in everyone’s best interests. Subordinate announces that he is leaving to spend more time with his family.[/li][/ul]

What I don’t get is why is it always a resignation? Why “pressured to resign” instead of “fired”?

The culture is somewhat different in politics vs. private commerce. What the public is allowed to see in a corporate dust-up tends to be more brutal and blunt without the face-saving aspects, even though the underlying truth of the political events are just as brutal. However, failed CEOs always seem to walk away with millions, which is where the media sometimes focuses.

Depends on your location and laws thereof.

‘Time Honored Tradition’ here in the USA, and you’d have an impossible task to prove it in court. Many companies, like my last employer, have learned how to build cases to fire people based on things that - on their own - wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans. But molehills can be documented as being vast mountain ranges, allegations you never heard can be made and documented, etc.