If you give 2 weeks notice on a job, and they ask you to leave immediately...

…are they in any way obligated to pay you for the two weeks you were willing to work? If not (and I’m thinking not, since most states are “at will” when it comes to employment), is asking you to not work your 2 week notice period considered a firing? If so, can you collect unemployment (assuming your new employer isn’t ready for you to start until your agreed-upon 2 week date) for those 2 weeks?

I just got to thinking about this subject based on a comment made in this thread about how much notice you should give your employer. So, what’s the deal?

I think the unemployment would be a ‘no’ since you do have another job lined up.

Usually a person has some vacation time coming so the time coming to them. So basically the current employer puts you on vacation for the rest of that time. In any event you should get your vacation pay that is due to you.

But really it is not a firing. You quit. Your offer of 2 weeks is something nice that you are offering them. They just refuse the offer.

Yes, but not until 2 weeks from that date. So, if they tell you not to come in to work, then you’re technically unemployed for those 2 weeks.

But you’re not quitting that day. You’re giving notice that you intend to quit 2 weeks from that date. If they elect not to accept 2 more weeks of work from you, IMO, that’s the same as being fired.

In California at least, there is a one-week unpaid waiting period. So possibly you could get paid for the second week, but not the first.

Also, there is an interview process if the circumstances of your leaving are questionable, so that you can make a case for getting benefits even in you left in less than good graces with your employer.

I work in an employment at-will state, so everyone’s mileage may differ.

Here’s the way a 2 weeks notice thing works as explained to me by a couple of HR types.

IF you don’t have a letter of agreement or any employee handbook that says otherwise, you can quit or be fired at any time. Offering notice is customary and courtesy – but it doesn’t have any legal standing.

Letters of agreement have some sort of verbage to the effect of “This agreement may be terminated by either party with two week’s notification.” If you choose to terminate the agreement, the employer can then waive his right to require yout to work for the next two weeks and say goodbye right then. If your employer tells you he’s terminating you, you could also waive your right for the two week’s salary he’s supposed to pay you, and walk out the door right then.

In Missouri, you can’t collect unemployment if you quit, unless you quit under duress.

Employee handbooks are all over the place.

I think that this sort of thing is determined on a state-by-state basis. so do some googling on your state’s unemployment compensation. I know (from personal experience) that in Vermont in 2002, one was entitled to two weeks pay when fired.

A close friend was recently fired under the exact circumstances described in the OP. Although she didn’t originally intend to do so, I encouraged her to apply for unemployment compensation under the theory that she was fired because she had intended to work for two additional weeks and did not violate any rules of her employer. Her former employer contested the unemployment, but in the end my friend was victorious. The unemployment board found that she was, indeed, fired and eligible for compensation. This situation occurred in Illinois. My friend was fired on June 14, 2004 and was awarded compensation on July 2, 2004. The fact that compensation was awarded retroactively and that she started a new job shortly thereafter did not make the victory any less sweet. Let’s face it; it’s pretty crummy for an employer to give an employee the axe when the employee had the courtesy to give notice–a courtesy which is not legally required.

Just make sure you get it all in writing. At my last job, the requirement for leaving with a recommendation for rehire was two-weeks notice. If you just up and left, you could be placed on a ‘not eligible for re-hire’ list, which information is available to your future employers. So make sure that if they are asking you to leave early, that they put the request in writing.

There are all types of reasons why an employer would not want you around for an extra 2 weeks. There are also many reasons that the employer would want an employee to stick around. In the former case, if the employee is going to work for a competitor then get them out of there as soon as possible. In the latter, if the extra time allows getting a replacement and some help from the departing employee in training the replacement; then the 2 weeks notice is welcomed. It might be because of different state laws, but I bet there was more to the story in the Illinois case given. In Mississippi, if someone is fired they do not get unemployment pay, unless it is found that they were unfairly fired. After a certain period the fired employee can draw unemployment if they have not found work, but it does not count against the employer’s record that determines the rate they pay into unemployment.


I am sure you meant no offense when you stated that there was “more to the story” in the Illinois case. I am not sure what you mean. If you’d like additional facts, please ask questions. I can tell you that the employee was going to work for a competitor, but the terms of her employment contract precluded her from any activity which would result in an unfair competition with the employer that fired her upon receipt of her notice.

I stated that an employer’s firing of an employee upon receipt of notice is crummy because it only breeds bad-will. If an employee thinks that he or she will be kicked out upon giving notice, then the next employee will not do so. While any employer is free to make this judgment on their own, I think such firing will eventually lead to shooting themselves in the foot because they will lose the next employee unexpectedly, and because of the operation of Murphy’s Law, such loss will come at the worst time possible.

As to whether Illinois and Mississippi law are different, I am not an expert in Mississippi law. I can tell you that while unemployment compensation is a state program, it is mandated by federal law and must meet certain minimum requirements. I am not sure about the nature of such minimum requirements, but in Illinois, unemployment compensation is awarded if an employee is terminated through employer action. Therefore, if an employee voluntarily quits or is fired for not following the reasonable rules of the employer, it is usually found to be the result of the employee’s action. On the other hand, if the employee is fired without fault or as a result of a sufficiently important change in the nature of the employment, then unemployment will typically be awarded.

The way you describe Mississippi’s system seem quite unfair to the employee. I would appreciate information about what is considered an unfair firing. For example, must the employee prove discrimination? Is it unfair if the employee was fired because the employer could find someone else to do the job for a smaller wage? Where is the line drawn? I appreciate your anticipated response.


It really depends on what state you’re in. In Texas the moment you give your employer notice that employer can find a replacement now.
A friend of mine thought he was being nice by giving 4 weeks notice. He was replaced three days later and was out the paychecks and the unemployment.

On the other hand, I kind of liked the way Southern Union Gas did it. They worked on the idea that if you didn’t want to work there two weeks from now, you didn’t want to work there now. They’d tell you to clear out your desk, turn in your keys…etc. And they’d cut you a check for those two weeks right there right then.

What if you offer 2 weeks, they say no, go now, and you then withdraw your resignation and say you want to stay forever? You offered to quit, but with terms. They can reject those terms, but now I think you’d have to be classified as fired. I did this once when I worked for Welex, an oilwell datalogger company. My boss kept me on for a month or so, then fired me. He couldn’t stand the fact that I’d been in control of the situation. He tried to hire me back a couple weeks later. Oilfield people are wierd, I tell ya. :smiley: The only way to get a vacation is to work your ass off, making yourself valuable, quit for a couple weeks, then hire back on. You gotta be a good hand, though, or you’re gone for good.
Is that what you wanted to know? :stuck_out_tongue:

Unemployment varies greatly from state to state in terms of how it’s administered. If this situation actually happens to you (you give notice, are let go immediately w/o severance pay) it would make sense to apply for unemployment.

For employers who need to let the employee go immediately, it is a good practice to pay out the notice period to encourage employees to give notice. If word gets out that giving notice = 2 weeks w/o pay, people will tend to no-show, which is probably a lose/lose for everyone.

As far as putting in notice then withdrawing, a recommended practice for employers is to immediately acknowledge the resignation in writing (even if you resigned verbally). The exception to this might be if you are someone they are really going to try to retain with a counteroffer. I’ve never heard of any legal status for an employee rescinding the resignation. Once it’s on the table, the employer can take it. Now, some employees may have had some luck denying a verbal resignation, but that’s rather different.

That would be a resignation with eighty hours* notice, Harriet the Spry. A package deal, no picking and choosing. The employer could, of course, terminate the employee, but I don’t think they could call it voluntary if they didn’t meet the terms of the resignation.
*The company I work for talks of time worked, short of years, in terms of hours, not days or weeks. Makes life easier for payroll, I suspect.

If a company I worked for fired people after receiving notice, I’d not only not give 2 weeks notice when I moved on (which would be as soon as possible, but timed to be as inconvenient for them as I could make it), I wouldn’t even tell them the last day. I’d no-show, and not answer the phone when they called. If they don’t want common courtesy, I’m not going to give them any.

Of course, I’m the only employee of the company I’m working for, so the chances of me being in this situation any time soon seem rather slim.

I think the unemployment compensation in Mississippi is being misrepresented. I have had to fire one person where I work, and she was denied unemployment because I was able to document her poor work habits(tardiness and abscence). I fired her for cause, and therefore she was unable to collect unemployment. If you’re laid off though, or they are unable to document the reasons for the firing, then unemployment is paid.

By the way, in some instances people have given no notice at all when they leave. Shocking isn’t it. I had another employee call me on Monday morning and quit. It wasn’t exactly debilitating, since he had worked there only a week, but it was irritating. I found out later he had only applied for a job there to get his old employer to give him a raise. When they called his bluff he took the job. When he discovered he couldn’t sit on his ass and drink coffee all day(which is apparently what he did at his old job), he quit and was able to con his old employers into hiring him back.

Here in CA unemployment is paid for by the employer. If unemployment here is paid as you describe that would, I think, constitute a conflict of interest.

Wow. It sounds to me like your management team needs, badly, some re-organizing.

Your governed either by a written contract of employment, see clauses, or what is the traditional practice in your area. You gave them two weeks notice which is reasonable and responsible behaviour. They had no right to terminate you. I’d say you send then a letter advising them of intended legal action within 7 days, OR … you will institute Civil Proceedings. If they do not reply sue. Judges base their decisions on fairness, they were being unfair, so sue them.

In practice it never gets to Court, Attorneys fees cancel out their alleged savings. You can sue yourself as a lone Litigant. Don’t try to be a Perry Mason, keep your complaint sharp and sweet. Poster number 7 give you a lot of useful advice - take it. The golden words are 'THE TRADITIONAL PRACTICE IN YOUR AREA.