Can we fire worker who gave notice and promptly started slacking off?

Q. One of our employees gave us a two-week notice because he found another job. However, now the employee is unmotivated and not focused on his work. Can we let him go before the two-week period is up?

A. Yes, you can let him go before the two-week period is up, unless a specific contract or agreement made between the employee and employer says otherwise.

If an employee is hired “at will”—meaning that the employee can be dismissed for any nondiscriminatory reason and without warning—the employer has no obligation to honor the two-week notice and can let the employee go at any time.

Providing two-weeks’ notice is more of a custom—a good business practice. Most employers are grateful for this heads-up, and it allows employees to finish their assignments during this period. But it is not required to keep the employee around for the full two weeks—again, unless a contract states otherwise.