More than 4 million people quit their jobs in March 2022 alone as the “Great Resignation” continues throughout the country, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show.
There’s no shortage of stories out there about ways people have quit their jobs – in fact, there’s a Reddit thread devoted to them. In response to a viral tweet, one Twitter user also claimed that you don’t have to give two weeks’ notice when quitting a job.
Are you required by law to give two weeks’ notice when quitting a job?
No, you aren’t required by law to give two weeks’ notice when quitting a job.
WHAT WE FOUND
Many employees choose to give two weeks’ notice as a courtesy when quitting a job, but employment nonprofit Legal Aid at Work says “there is no legal requirement that you do so.”
However, some companies may require you to give advance notice if you want to retain certain benefits, like being paid out for unused vacation days, the Society for Human Resource Management says.
In all U.S. states apart from Montana, most employees are considered “at-will.” At-will employment generally means an employee can quit their job or be fired for any reason and at any time.
The Montana Wrongful Discharge From Employment Act of 1987 “created a cause of action for employees who believe they were terminated without good cause,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Similar legislation was introduced in other states but has not been passed.
In Colorado, for example, employers and employees are not required to “give notice or advance notice of termination or resignation.” Neither the employer nor the employee have to give a reason for the quitting or firing, either.
“Courtesy and time to collect accrued benefits are reasons why notice is given,” according to Minnesota’s labor department.
There are some exceptions to at-will employment rules for employees who are covered by a union or are under contract.
“For example, a contract may provide for a specific term of employment or allow termination for cause only. Typically, U.S. companies negotiate individual employment agreements only with high-level employees,” the National Conference of State Legislatures writes. “Collective bargaining agreements usually provide that represented employees may only be terminated for cause.”
Cause generally includes reasons such as poor employee performance, misconduct or economic necessity. A contract might outline situations or actions that would lead to cause for termination.
But there are still some protections against discrimination for at-will employees. Employees can’t be fired or penalized due to their membership in a protected class, meaning an at-will employee can’t be fired because of their race, gender identity or disability, among other characteristics.