Have you ever wondered if you have to give two weeks notice when quitting your job?
Is there a law that says you have to give two weeks notice to the boss when quitting your job?
Do you remember when you were hired for the job? Did you sign a contract? Most job contracts, at least in the lower income category, list the job, pay, and starting date. If the job has an end date, that will be noted. Likewise if there is a three month probation period. There could be something in the job contract about two weeks notice is requested when quitting.
Even if the job contract you signed says two weeks notice is required when quitting, is it legally binding?
TWO WEEKS NOTICE
Why give the boss two weeks notice when quitting your job?
It’s just considered a polite thing to do.
There are some jobs, professionals like doctors, who may have signed a contract specifying they have to give a much longer notice when they’re planning to quit their job. No one facing a triple bypass wants to find out their heart surgeon just gave two weeks notice and your surgery date just fell outside that time frame!
Giving two weeks notice when quitting your job gives your employer time to place an ad and start interviewing replacements for your position. The employer might not have found a new person before your end date, but you’ve given them notice they need to start looking.
What about legal backlash if you don’t give two weeks notice you’re quitting? Most states and provinces are “at will” employment. That means either the employer or the employee can end the employment at any time, whether or not there’s a contact. The boss can’t stop you from walking out the door if you quit suddenly.
QUITTING YOUR JOB WITHOUT TWO WEEKS NOTICE
There are lots of reasons why you might need to quit your job immediately and not give the employer two weeks notice. Your intention might have been to quit responsibly with notice, but things took a turn for the worst. Here are 13 reasons why quitting your job without giving two weeks notice might be necessary.
1. HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT
Have you ever worked a job where the boss was miserable or the coworkers were nasty? This could take many forms like bullying, sexual harassment, and discrimination, but generally treating you in a disrespectful manner. You don’t need to be the victim of a toxic work environment that is affecting your mental health, and that’s OK to leave without two weeks notice.
A few years ago I took on a contract position that was going to be for approximately eight weeks, helping a company with data entry during a busy period. They hired four temporary office workers, and there were already four full time office staff working there. The full time staff and two of the other temps were all very nice ladies. Another woman was very condescending and nasty and was the perfect example of why employers are biased about hiring older workers.
At the six week mark it was clear the work was winding down and it was getting slower. One day the older lady followed me into another room to spew out her venom. Why should I put up with that behavior on a temporary job? I talked to the manager and said I just couldn’t stay in this hostile work environment anymore, and seeing as how things were slowing down, I was leaving. She understood and was so apologetic. I hated doing that, but I won’t work in a place where I’m bullied.
And neither should you!
2. DREAM JOB
You have just been offered the perfect job. The call from your new employer came in at the end of the week. The catch is they want you to start on Monday.
Yes or no? Do you want the job or should they phone their second choice candidate?
If you have a great opportunity, you can’t let yourself worry about doing the polite thing and giving your current employer two weeks notice.
3. UNSAFE WORK ENVIRONMENT
There could be any number of reasons why your place of employment is unsafe. Anything from mold to rats to a roof that’s ready to collapse.
What if you’re asked to carry out a work duty that is potentially unsafe that you haven’t received training on? You can’t just hop in a cement truck and drive to a job site if you’ve never driven a truck like that before.
No job is worth your personal safety!
I worked with Thoroughbred racehorses when I was in my twenties. Then I decided I had enough of risking life and limb and started looking for office jobs.
If your workplace is unsafe, it’s OK to quit without giving two weeks notice.
4. FAMILY OBLIGATIONS
Sometimes your life changes in an instant when something happens to a family member. Some employers are very understanding and will allow to take a leave of absence from work. Others don’t care what’s going on in your personal life.
Years ago I worked at the now defunct Silverwing Holidays. This was a tour wholesaler that mainly put together air and hotel packages to Reno and Las Vegas using chartered planes. Silverwing also put together packages to California and Hawaii, using scheduled air flights primarily with American Airlines.
Now you’d think Silverwing would want their employees to travel and use this knowledge for conversing with travel agents or passengers.
The extended family of one of my coworkers was planning a Hawaiian vacation. Everyone was going. She asked for two weeks off and was told no. She wasn’t asking for paid time off, just time off so she could be part of this event.
She decided her family was more important to her than her job and made it clear to the supervisor and she was going on the family vacation. Here’s the thing. This reservation agent was amazing. She was one of the top employees in that department and was a very nice person. The supervisor told her if she went on the family vacation, she wouldn’t have a job when she came back.
I need a vacation. Gotta get away!
Another coworker at Silverwing was going for surgery and with the recovery time she needed two weeks off work. Silverwing said sure, that’ll be your vacation time. Nice. Coming from a company who’s slogan is “I Need a Vacation”. She quit shortly after that. Needed a vacation I guess!
5. JOB DUTIES CHANGE
Sticking with Silverwing Holidays, here’s my story about when I quit my job without giving two weeks notice.
I worked in the accounting department and one of the ladies was on maternity leave. I was covering her job, in addition to my own duties. There was another lady, who was also helping cover this woman’s job.
A few things happened all at once. The other lady who was helping cover that position had decided to go back to school, right around the same time that the maternity leave lady was returning. Except the new mom contacted Silverwing to say she wasn’t coming back to work.
The manager of the accounting department, Walter, who sat about ten feet away from me, sent me an electronic message.
This was 1994, before email and the Internet. Our in-house computer had a messaging system. If a coworker sent a message, it popped up on the other person’s monitor. Walter’s quick message said that I would be taking over all the job duties of the two women leaving Silverwing – new mom and student.
At no extra pay, thank you very much.
Why didn’t he just come over and talk to me or ask for a private meeting in the boardroom to discuss the situation?
MAKING A STATEMENT
I quietly packed up the few personal belongings I had at my desk, and took them to my car at the end of my shift.
Around 10:30 that night, when I was sure no one was in the office, I sent a fax with my immediate resignation. In the fax I mentioned that Walter’s desk is ten feet from me, and he sent me an electronic message instead of talking to me about the extra work I would be taking on. A little dig at how he was too chicken to handle the situation properly.
Walter normally arrived at the office after 9am. The rest of the staff started at 8am or 8:30am. I knew one of my coworkers would check the fax machine, see my resignation, and put it on Walter’s desk. And word would be out real fast. Everyone would know I quit before he found out.
Sending in an immediate resignation like that sends a strong message to the boss.
6. NO WORK
On the other end of the spectrum is the company doesn’t have enough work.
This is usually more a problem for people who are scheduled for shift work or on call work. You’re not getting scheduled for enough hours, or there’s not enough work to keep you busy for an entire shift.
Depending on your relationship with the boss, you can probably get away without giving two weeks notice and just ask not to be scheduled anymore.
Whether it’s work related or work exacerbated, you can’t put a price on your physical and mental well-being. Your health should always be your first priority.
If you can’t change your working conditions or your work/life balance, you need to make a fast exit and take care of yourself.
Getting back to my immediate resignation from Silverwing Holidays, the next day I took a drive up the coast and for the first time in my life I understood what it means to have a big weight lifted off your shoulders. I felt really good. Nearly 30 years later I still remember how I felt that day.
When I arrived back home, Walter had phoned a couple of times, so I called him back, and agreed to come in the next day and talk to him in person.
At least I was professional enough to give him that courtesy. Unfortunately, nobody was getting raises so he couldn’t offer me any more money, and he wasn’t willing to make my job less stressful by reallocating the duties of the women who were leaving the company.
Have you seen your employer take revenge on employees who’ve given their two weeks notice they’re quitting? Treating them badly, delaying their final pay, or giving them really lousy duties during their last days? If the boss has a history of being a jerk, you know you’ll be subject to the same behavior.
Protect yourself. Once you’re paid in full for your work to date, quit without giving two weeks notice so you’re not subject to that insulting behavior from the boss.
9. NEW JOB
If you’ve just started a new job and realized it’s not a good fit, it’s probably a good idea to quit without giving two weeks notice. You can let your boss know there’s no point in continuing training, so everyone can cut their losses.
Getting back to Silverwing Holidays, there was a new hire, and a couple of days after she started, she got a better job offer. She told the lady who was training her and asked if she wanted two weeks notice. The company decided there was no point in training and paying someone who was going to quit in two weeks.
For a company that’s all about travel and fun times, Silverwing Holidays really was the armpit of bad employment for a lot of staff.
10. ETHICAL CHALLENGES
Sometimes you get stuck in a company where their moral compass isn’t on the same page as yours.
If the company or the coworkers are involved in illegal activity, it’s probably a good idea to make a fast exit.
There’s no reason for you to compromise your professional or personal standards. No job is worth that.
11. NOT BEING PAID
Most jurisdictions have employment laws about how you will be paid, whether you’re commission, salary, or an hourly paid employee. And how often – every two weeks or twice a month. Your pay period was probably specified in your job offer contract.
What happens when payday comes and goes and no money hits your bank account?
There could be a technical glitch. That happened to me once not so long ago, and the employer did an electronic transfer to me from their bank account for the approximate amount, with the promise the next pay day would catch up. That was acceptable to me.
Sometimes the company runs out of money and can’t pay the staff.
Maybe the employer is dishonest and has no intention of paying in a timely manner, or at all. Make sure you’re being paid the agreed upon wage. It takes seconds to check your pay stub for discrepancies. Double check with a calculator.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sure not going to stick around and keep working for someone who’s not paying me! A person has to cut their losses at some point. If the employer isn’t paying you, it’s OK to quit without giving two weeks notice.
12. YOU WON’T BE ALLOWED TO WORK DURING YOUR LAST TWO WEEKS
Sometimes when you give your two weeks notice you’re quitting, the boss walks you out the door like you’re a criminal. It sucks if you need the money from your two week notice period, but aren’t allowed to keep working.
If you’ve worked for the company long enough you’ll know if there’s a history of employees being escorted out after giving their two weeks notice. It’s OK to tell the boss you’re quitting while you’re walking out the door.
13. THE BOSS IS TRYING TO PUSH YOU OUT THE DOOR
Sometimes you have a conflict with the boss and it’s really miserable to keep working for the company. You notice the boss is keeping track of every infraction you commit. The boss is collecting evidence to use against you and fire you.
Why stick around any longer than you have to? The boss wants wants you out anyway. It’s OK to quit without giving two weeks notice, because the boss is hoping you’ll find a new job and move on anyway.
HOW TO QUIT WITHOUT GIVING TWO WEEKS NOTICE
Ultimately, how you quit your job without giving two weeks notice is up to you. If you’re comfortable talking to the boss, just grab a minute alone with him/her and tell them you’re outta there.
If you’d rather talk, but not in person, pick up the phone.
Sending a fax like I did was so 1990s! These days an email or text message should suffice.
You could be like this woman and just put together a video telling the boss you quit. She’s got some nice dance moves!
For a little fun reading, see 12 Wild Resignation Letters From People Who Clearly Wanted To Send A Message To Their Bosses.
ARE THERE RISKS TO QUITTING WITHOUT GIVING TWO WEEKS NOTICE?
If you’re wondering what risks there are to quitting a job without giving two weeks notice, that might depend on the career you’re in. People who walk out on fast turnover minimum wage jobs are likely not going to encounter any future problems. A lot of people walk out on these types of jobs. They don’t get paid enough to put up with the crap they deal with.
If you’re looking for past employers to provide work references, don’t count on any jobs you quit without giving two weeks notice!
If you don’t have another job lined up, you might not be able to collect unemployment insurance benefits. Generally, the word is if you quit your job, you can’t collect these benefits. However, if you quit your job due to bad working conditions, you might be eligible. It doesn’t hurt to apply and make your case.
You are entitled to be paid up until the last hour of the last day you worked. Don’t let the boss rip you off!
Above all else – always trust your gut!
This post was published by Cheryl @ The Lifestyle Digs on March 30 , 2021