If a resigning employee gives two weeks’ notice, can we tell him not to bother coming in anymore?

Q. If an employee resigns and gives two weeks’ notice, can we tell him he isn’t needed for the two weeks and avoid paying him for that time?

A. Generally, yes. However, the answer may be different if you have a policy requiring two weeks’ notice prior to resignation. If such a policy exists, you have arguably 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 such policy exists and you decide to dismiss the employee right away, you should consider the impact of your decision on other employees. Workers who are aware that this employee was told to leave upon providing two weeks’ notice aren’t likely to give notice themselves should they decide to resign. That could create severe staffing problems.

Also be aware that the employee may be able to argue that he or she was prematurely terminated, entitling him to recover unemployment benefits for the two-week period.