Do you have to give a two weeks notice?

One of my LinkedIn connections e-mailed me a question last week that was a little dicey.”

“He is a mid-level manager and recently accepted a position at a competitor. He wants to give a courtesy 2-weeks notice at his current job but knows that often when employees leave to work for a competitor they are termed immediately. He is not in a position to afford a forced two-week vacation.”

“I shared with him that there are no federal or state laws that require an employee to provide 2-weeks’ notice to his employer before quitting. However, he should consider whether company policy requires employees to give two weeks notice. If so, he could rely on the policy to support a claim for the two weeks pay if the employer made the resignation effective. I also informed him that in this situation he would likely be able to collect unemployment benefits since the term was not for misconduct.”

“My advice to this connection was to have a conversation with his FUTURE employer prior to giving notice. Let them know that you want to do the “right” thing by offering a 2-weeks notice but that termination may be pending and to see if they could be flexible on the start date. If your new manager isn’t understanding or flexible about your start date, that could be a big red flag.”

“What would you do?”


  • Sarah Johnston

    I’m a former corporate recruiter and industry “insider” who got tired of seeing talented high-achievers get passed over for opportunities because they did not have the right marketing documents or know how to position themselves in interviews. I have relocated multiple times across the country as a “trailing spouse” and have had to execute job searches in completely cold markets (where I literally knew no one!) I have been named a LinkedIn Top Voice in the career space in 2019, HR Weekly’s Top 100 Most Influential People in HR, named the owner of the “best resume writing firm for experienced executives” by Balance Careers and a “top follow” by JobScan in 2019 and 2020.

Sarah Johnston

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