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Can an employee quit without warning?

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2023 | Employment Law

Many employers will ask employees to give two weeks’ notice before they leave the business. They may even put in the company handbook that this is required, or they may mention it during an interview. They want that advance notice because it can help them find someone else to replace the outgoing employee. This allows the business to run smoothly and is clearly highly beneficial.

However, employees may not want to give that much notice. Say that someone has another job lined up that starts in less than two weeks. Maybe an employee simply wants to be done working immediately and doesn’t feel that they should be obligated to stay once they decide they’re done. Do they have to provide notice or not?

At-will employment vs. contracted

The key to answering this question is going to be what type of employee that person is. If, like most workers, they are an at-will employee, then they can quit at any time. They don’t have to give two weeks’ notice. They don’t have to give any notice at all. An employee could theoretically just cut off all contact and stop coming into work, and they would not have violated the law in any way.

However, if that employee has a contract, then they do have to abide by whatever terms they agreed to. That may include giving two weeks’ notice before they leave the position. If they neglected to do so – or refused to do so directly — that could cause legal complications because they would have violated a contract.

You can imagine how this situation can create disputes between employees and employers who think they have different obligations. It’s important for those on both sides to understand their legal options.

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