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Do you have to give notice before you quit?

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2024 | Employment Law

Many employers expect you to give notice before you quit. As a general rule, they ask for two weeks’ notice. This may not be directly stated, but it’s very common and many employers just assume they will get it.

But is it actually required? For instance, maybe your employer put in the employee handbook that you have no choice but to give two weeks’ notice or your resignation will not be accepted. Or perhaps you already tried to quit and they told you that your last day is going to be in two weeks, when you wanted to leave immediately. Can they require that advance notice?

At-will employees have no contractual requirement

Some contractual employees are required to give notice before they leave a position. This does not mean that it is always two weeks. The amount of notice, and the manner in which it should be given, should be stated in the contract itself.

But the vast majority of employees are not working on a contractual basis. They are at-will employees. They are free to quit whenever they want, and their employers are free to fire them whenever they want.

This freedom means that a two weeks’ notice cannot be required. Your boss also cannot “reject” your resignation or tell you that you’re not allowed to quit until a later date. Technically speaking, you are allowed to quit at any time, and you could simply walk off of the job without putting in another minute. Your boss has no control over this if you haven’t signed a contract giving up this right to quit whenever you want.

What if a dispute occurs?

Unfortunately, disputes sometimes happen when employers and employees see things very differently. Those involved in a process like this need to know what legal steps to take