There are cases where the calling party has no authority, for example Jeremy Corbyn calling on Boris Johnson to resign but then there are cases where the asking party has legal authority but still chooses to ask for (or force) a resignation.

Example: Trump asking John Bolton for resignation.


2 Answers 2


It's a face-saving move. Firing someone sends the message that they did something wrong or you didn't get along with them. It could also affect what benefits the person receives. Asking for a resignation looks more like an amicable separation. No one is being explicitly accused of any wrongdoing.

  • This is correct. Allowing someone to resign is a generosity from the supervisor or the chief executive.
    – user9790
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 13:58
  • 1
    Both sides often benefit from the arrangement.
    – klojj
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 14:00
  • Also illuminating: archives.gov/publications/prologue/2005/winter/…
    – user9790
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 14:02
  • and more on point: resourcesforlife.com/docs/item13997
    – user9790
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 14:04
  • In the United States there is some debate if "fired" vs. "resigned" makes a difference with regard to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. The act clearly applies if the office-holder resigns, but there are questions if the President can fire a Senate-approved official to install a not Senate-approved acting replacement.
  • It might make a difference regarding severance pay, pensions, etc. This varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

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