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Terminating employee who gives 2 week notice?

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  • Terminating employee who gives 2 week notice?

    (MA) I have an at-will employee who is giving two weeks notice. He is in a sensitive position and I am concerned about client stealing during his 2 week departure time as he is going to work for a competitor. His notice was not in writing. If he refuses to sign a resignation, would it be considered a termination if I asked him to leave tomorrow? Obviously termination brings its own set of rules, i.e, in Massachusetts, giving his last paycheck as well as accrued vacation time, plus an ability to apply for unemployment.

    In my view, he has given me a resignation effective in two weeks, is it within my right to accept it immediatly? If so, I then do not have to issue him a paycheck on the spot, he can receive it in at his normal period? Thanks for any insight that anyone can provide.

  • #2
    It would be an immediate acceptance of his resignation. A termination is what happens when an employee and an employer part company; there's voluntary terminations (I quit) and involuntary terminations (you're fired).

    My understanding is that the employee could likely receive UI benefits for the period, but even so, the period will be short, since he's going to another job, so it should not adversely affect your UI rate.

    And, having said that, you need to protect your company. If you're concerned, I don't see any problem with accepting his resignation immediately. As a matter of fact, seeing that he is going to work for a competitor, he very well may not be surprised.
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    • #3
      You have to give him his vacation time anyway. Nothing in MA law gives you the right to withhold unused vacation time for employees who resign.
      The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


      • #4
        As for timing of payments: If you discharge him, you must pay him his final wages on the date of discharge. If he voluntarily leaves, then you need only pay him on the next regular payday.
        This post is by Philip Gordon, a Massachusetts employment attorney (

        This post is NOT legal advice. It is for general/educational information purposes only. You should not rely on this post if you are making decisions, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post may be considered "advertising" under the MA professional rules for attorneys.