resignation letter - why say why?

I recently gave my supervisor at work a resignation letter. He mentioned to me that he would like to give my letter to the Human Resources (H.R.) department, but they like to have the letter state the reason why you are leaving the company.

Of course, the reason I’m leaving is because I found a job I think I would like more (and it pays more), but I’m wondering why would H.R. want me to put that in the letter? I don’t want to be paranoid, but is there some sinister plot behind all this? Also I’m an ornery cuss and I’m not sure I want to add to my letter just to make H.R. happy.

Any comments from the teeming millions?

Jacques Kilchoer
Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

HRjust wants to know if your boss is an asshole. You don’t have to say better job, more money, just make it clear you are seizing another opportunity. HR simply has to justify it’s budget, if you don’t give them a reason they get nothing to work with. They won’t even have a statistical category to file you into unless you comply.

It’s CYA on their part - they’re looking to see if any of your reasons could blossom into a lawsuit against the company.

They are using it to see if you are going to claim unemployment. First of all it is NONE of their business why you quit.

Resignation letters should say “Do to opportunities elsewhere.” That is enough.

If you feel like saying something either positve or negative tell them you will do an exit interview an hour before you leave and will answer any approprate questions.

And yes you can quit a job and get unemployment, if you quit for just cause.

First of all, it’s “Due to opportunities elsewhere …”, and second, that’s not even a correct use of “due to”, though it is common enough. Use “because of” instead.

I always thought they wanted the reason you were leaving so they could learn from their mistakes and make the work environment a better place for those who remained. Of course, I also believe in the tooth fairy.

Markxxx probably hit the home run here. Your letter provides them with a paper trail to prove (with your own signature) that you left on your own. Should you try to sue later for unemployment benefits the letter will be damning evidence in court.
I’ve been on the management end of this one. They want that letter!
They want to know why you left? More evidence that you left voluntarily.
I had to use such a letter in one (count 'em-one) court case. But the letter made the case open and shut.

Thank you for everyone’s reply. It seems to me that the main reason is so that the employer can use my letter in court if needs be. elbows had said

but then that means I could give them a reason verbally and they would be satisfied with that. I have sent Human Resources an e-mail stating I left the company to pursue another career opportunity in the same field. I suspect they will still ask for the letter.

Doug Bowe said:

It seems to me then that the letter has benefit for my company, but not for me, and therefore it would be in my best interests not to give them a signed letter stating my reasons.

After all, when I was offered the job, I never got a signed letter with details on the job offer and salary.

Jacques Kilchoer
Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

One final note: If you are leaving the company on good terms, but have just found another job (or you want the company to THINK you are leaving on good terms) its a good idea to let HR know this, since you might need to use the company as a reference in future job aplications, and it’s a good idea to have a proper resignation letter on file so they have something to go on… Just an idea

Jason R Remy

“No amount of legislation can solve America’s problems.”
– Jimmy Carter (1980)

The EXIT interview is the appropriate place for for reason of why you quit. NOT your resignation letter. And I don’t even give the resignation letter till I leave. I tell them simply this will be my last day, I will give you a letter backdated from today on the last day I am working. This prevents them from saying OK since you quit leave now. Cause if they do you got an unemployment case. If they have your resignation letter you don’t.

There are two other reasons that haven’t been mentioned:

(1) You want to leave on good terms, in case you want to return to the company. Don’t laugh, it happens. And it’ll be a lot more likely to happen if you write a polite good-bye.

(2) You want to let them know why you left. It’s alos possible that your employer will fell that they can correct the problem that caused you to leave. If you put it in writing, you’ve got a place to start bargaining.

I’ll admit this are trivial reasons, but they shouldn’t be excluded.

Thank you again for everyone’s comments. I am not averse to writing a resignation letter, in fact I’ve already done that. I think my letter is fairly polite, it says “Thank you for the opportunities your company has offered me.”

I have told HR verbally that I’m leaving to pursue another career opportunity in the same field. I don’t mind telling them in the exit interview what I think could be changed in my current company.

It does seem however that if I state my reasons for leaving in my signed resignation letter, it has legal benefits for my employer and none for myself. So I have decided to not rewrite the letter.

If my company decides that by doing so I am leaving on bad terms, so be it.

Jacques Kilchoer
Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.