If an employee gives a 2 week notice of resignation, are their any laws that protect the employee for the remainder of their employment? What are the ramifications if any if the employee is terminated without cause within those 2 weeks?
The majority of US states follow the employment at will doctrine. This rule of law states that an employer can terminate any worker, at any time, with or without notice, for any reason or for no reason.
Federal law prohibits illegal discrimination in terminations, specifically based on race, color, age (over 40), disability, national ancestry, sex, pregnancy and genetic information. As long as the termination does not violate one of these regulations, it is entirely legal.
Many companies routinely fire workers who give 2 weeks notice. Their thought process is that the employees attention will be focused on his or her new job, and the employee will not be very productive during the last two weeks. In other cases, an employee may be terminated for different reasons during the final two weeks. When an employer terminates a worker who has given two weeks notice, the employer is under obligation only to pay the worker for time actually worked. The employee is not entitled to wages for the final two weeks, when the employee was willing to work but did not.
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