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Is 2 weeks’ notice mandatory?

Say that you decide to quit your job, and you inform your employer. Oddly, they tell you that you can’t quit yet. They say the company has a policy that requires you to give two weeks’ notice if you are going to quit. They will not accept your immediate resignation.

You are probably not that surprised that an employer would want two weeks’ notice, as this is a standard practice in many industries. It helps the employer find someone else to replace the departing employee and makes the transition go more smoothly. But can they actually require you to do this?

Are you an at-will employee?

The only way that advance notice can be mandatory is if you signed a contract agreeing to it when you took the job. These types of employment contracts are common with CEOs and other high-level executives.

But most employees are just at-will workers. If you didn’t sign a contract, this includes you.

Under at-will employment laws, you have the right to quit your job whenever you want. You are not legally required to give any notice at all. You certainly can give two weeks’ notice before you leave if you’d like, and many employees do because they want to get a good reference from that former employer in the future. But your employer cannot make it mandatory and they certainly have no legal ability to tell you that you can’t quit. You can always walk away from your job.

Conflicts sometimes happen between employers and employees because of misunderstandings regarding employment laws, contracts and legal obligations. Those involved must be well aware of all of their legal options.



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