If you want to quit your job, you may not want to provide any notice. Maybe you just had a sudden opportunity come up. Perhaps you’ve been frustrated with your job for a while and this was the last straw. Regardless of the reason, you want to just walk away and seek other employment immediately.
But when you talk to your boss, they tell you that you have to give two weeks’ notice. Maybe they act like they’re telling you what you have to do from a position of authority, or perhaps they point to an employee handbook that says two weeks’ notice is expected. Do you actually have to do this?
Not if you’re an at-will employee
It all depends on whether or not you have an employment contract. If you do, that contract may state how much notice you need to give. Violating the contract could result in certain penalties.
But if you don’t have a contract, then you are an at-will employee, like most workers in the United States. At-will employees do not have to give any notice before they quit. Likewise, employers do not have to give notice before firing these employees. The relationship can be terminated on either end, at any time.
So it doesn’t matter what the employee handbook says or what your boss tells you that you “have” to do. You can quit at any time that you want under current labor laws.
Unfortunately, things like this can sometimes become complicated because employers interpret the law differently or don’t even understand what it says. If you find yourself in a complex situation, it may be necessary to look into all of your legal options.