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Can your boss deny your resignation?

You decide that you want to leave your job and search for a new one. You go to your boss and tell them that you’re resigning your position and you won’t be returning to work. You hope that they will be gracious about it and understand, and you’re even willing to help them by staying on for a few weeks while they find a replacement.

However, you’re surprised when your boss tells you that they don’t accept your resignation and they’re not going to let you quit. You were under the impression that they had to do so. Is it possible for them to deny you?

Do you have an employment contract?

The biggest question to ask in this situation is if you are working on an employment contract or if you are an at-will employee.

If you are an at-will employee, then you have no obligation to stay with the company after you quit, and they have no ability to decide if you’re allowed to quit or not. You can choose to leave the company whenever you want. They can choose to fire you whenever they want.

If you are a contractual employee, however, then that contract overrides or modifies these at-will employment laws. The contract may stipulate that you can’t quit until a certain time or without giving a certain amount of notice. In a situation like that, your boss could deny your resignation and tell you that you have to adhere to the contract.

Things like this can get very complex. Make sure you know what legal steps to take during a dispute.


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