Q. If an employee resigns and gives two weeks’ notice, can the employer tell the worker that he or she is not needed for the two weeks and avoid paying the person for that time?
A. Generally, yes. However, the answer may be different if the employer has a policy “requiring” two weeks’ notice prior to resignation. If such a policy exists, the employer arguably has established a contractual obligation with its employees either to allow them to continue working for two weeks or to pay them for the time.
Even if no policy exists, employers should consider the impact that such action will probably have on other employees. Workers who are aware that this employee was told to leave upon providing two weeks’ notice are not likely to give notice themselves should they decide to resign, potentially leaving an important position vacant.
Employers should also be aware that the employee may be able to argue that he or she was prematurely terminated and recover unemployment benefits for the two-week period.