a California Employment Lawyer's Blog

Disclaimer This Blog is not legal advice; this entire website and its contents are general information for California employees. For legal advice, consult your lawyer or hire me!  No interaction with this website creates an attorney-client relationship or privilege. Copyright Thomas C. Walker, Esq. © 2015-7. All rights reserved.
Two Weeks Notice & HR Myths (January 2016)

If you been employed this last decade you likely have seen through several human resources myths, like “Employees are our most important assets”, and “Our Code of Conduct requires honesty and professionalism by all members of management”.   One that persists is the requirement to give two weeks notice at time of resignation.  Really?  And, how does that square with an employer’s favorite doctrine of “at will” employment?

As a California based employee, here are a few things for you to consider:

    Notice to management that you intend to leave may cause the employer to terminate your employment immediately. Although they may pay you for those two weeks, they likely don’t have to and many times they won’t.  If the employee handbook discusses two weeks notice and gives you the clear impression you employment will continue for those two weeks – you have an argument to get paid. The risk is you are out of two week’s pay you were expecting, and in some companies your benefits will terminate immediately.

    Those two weeks can be painful.  You may find yourself shut-off from internal systems, your company cell phone and voicemail might be blocked.  You might be given restrictions on talking to clients/customers, and even your company friends.  And, you may not like what they ask you to do during those two weeks.

    Since you haven’t started working for another company as yet, you can bet there is going to be a good deal of curiosity and questions about where you are going to work and what you will be doing.  If you are planning on starting work with a competitor you can bet this will get uncomfortable, and in the worst scenarios you might sense a desire to sabotage your transition.

On the other hand,  The company may offer special benefits if employees give the requested notice, or there is some program with unaccrued/unvested pay that will vest and be paid to you if give the requisite notice.  These are rare, but not unheard of – check it out. 

Perhaps you have the opportunity to negotiate the rules of engagement and benefits of staying those two weeks.  And, perhaps you are betting on a positive afterglow,  favorable reference letters and other reputation considerations is making the decision to give advance notice.  Maybe you are giving notice because you simply believe it’s the right thing to do.

The point of this post is that two weeks notice is something for you might elect to do for tangible and intangible reasons, understanding the risks you are taking.  It is not a valid employment doctrine.