Can You Get Fired After Giving 2 Weeks Notice?

can employer fire you after 2 week notice

Leaving a job can be a daunting process. Whether you’ve found a new opportunity, are seeking a change, or need to step away for personal reasons, giving notice is often seen as the professional and courteous thing to do. But what happens if, after you’ve given your two weeks notice, your employer decides to terminate your employment early? Can you get fired after giving 2 weeks notice? Does it constitute wrongful termination? Let’s delve into these questions and understand your rights in such a scenario.

Understanding At-Will Employment and Wrongful Termination

To comprehend whether being fired after giving notice is wrongful termination, we must first understand the concept of at-will employment. In California, like in many other states, employment is presumed to be at-will unless stated otherwise in an employment contract. At-will employment means that either the employer or the employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all, as long as the reason is not illegal.

However, this does not mean that employers have carte blanche to terminate employees as they please. Wrongful termination occurs when an employee is fired for reasons that violate state or federal laws. These reasons can include discrimination based on protected characteristics such as race, gender, age, religion, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation.

Additionally, termination in retaliation for exercising legally protected rights, such as whistleblowing or taking medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), constitutes wrongful termination.

Reasons That Employers Will Risk Firing You

Despite the potential legal ramifications, some employers might still choose to terminate an employee after they’ve given notice. There could be various reasons for this:

  1. Performance Issues: If your performance has been consistently poor, your employer may decide that it’s best to part ways sooner rather than later, even if you’ve given notice.

  2. Confidential Information Concerns: If you’re privy to sensitive information and there are concerns that you might share it with competitors or misuse it in some way, your employer might opt for immediate termination.

  3. Security Risks: In certain industries, such as finance or cybersecurity, employers may view departing employees as potential security risks and prefer to terminate them immediately.

  4. Conflict of Interest: If you’ve accepted a position with a direct competitor or a company in a related industry, your employer may see it as a conflict of interest and decide to let you go before your notice or waiting period ends.

  5. Cultural Fit: In some cases, employers may feel that an employee who has given notice no longer fits with the company culture and may choose to expedite their departure.

Reasons That Employers Will Not Fire You

On the flip side, many employers opt to honor the notice period and allow employees to work until their intended departure date. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Maintaining Professionalism: Honoring the notice period reflects positively on the employer and maintains a sense of professionalism in the workplace.

  2. Transition Period: Notice periods provide an opportunity for a smooth transition, allowing the departing employee to wrap up projects and hand over responsibilities.

  3. Preserving Reputation: Firing an employee who has given notice can damage the employer’s reputation, both internally and externally, leading to potential difficulties in recruiting new talent.

  4. Legal Risks: Terminating an employee who has given notice without valid cause exposes the employer to the risk of a wrongful termination lawsuit.

  5. Employee Morale: Firing an employee after they’ve given notice can lower morale among remaining staff, leading to decreased productivity and increased turnover.

Recognizing Unlawful Retaliation and Discrimination in Termination

It’s essential to recognize when termination crosses the line into unlawful retaliation or discrimination. If you believe that you were fired after giving notice due to retaliation for exercising your legal rights or discrimination based on protected characteristics, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit.

For example, if you recently filed a complaint about workplace harassment and were subsequently terminated after giving notice, it could be considered retaliation.

Similarly, if your employer fired you after giving notice because of your age, race, gender, or another protected characteristic, it would constitute illegal discrimination.

The Role of Federal Laws in Protecting Employees

Several federal laws protect employees from wrongful termination and discrimination, including:

  1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: Prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

  2. Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA): Protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age.

  3. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in all aspects of employment.

  4. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Provides eligible employees with unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.

  5. Equal Pay Act: Requires equal pay for equal work regardless of gender.

Can an Employer Fire You for Giving Two Weeks Notice and Quitting Immediately After That?

In most cases, yes, an employer can technically terminate your employment immediately after you’ve given notice. As mentioned earlier, employment is generally at-will, meaning that either party can end the relationship at any time, with or without cause. However, whether it’s a wise decision for the employer depends on various factors, including potential legal risks and the impact on company morale.

If you believe that your termination within the notice period was unlawful, you may have grounds for legal action. It’s essential to gather evidence to support your claim, such as documentation of any discriminatory remarks or actions by your employer, performance evaluations, witness statements, and correspondence related to your termination.

While employment at-will gives employers broad discretion in terminating other employees, there are legal protections in place to prevent wrongful termination. If an employer fires an employee after they’ve given notice for reasons that violate state or federal laws, it may constitute wrongful termination. Examples of unlawful termination include:

  • Discrimination based on protected characteristics such as race, gender, age, or national origin.

  • Retaliation for engaging in legally protected activities, such as whistleblowing or exercising labor rights.

  • Breach of contract if the termination violates the terms of an employment agreement or implied promises made by the employer.

What to Do If You’re Fired After Giving Notice

If you find yourself terminated after giving notice, it’s essential to assess the circumstances and understand your rights. Here are steps you can take:

  1. Review Your Employment Contract: Check your company’s employee handbook or employment contract, review it carefully to determine whether the termination violates any terms or agreements.

  2. Document the Situation: Keep records of any communications, performance evaluations, or incidents that may support your case if you believe the termination was unlawful.

  3. Seek Legal Guidance: Consult with a knowledgeable employment law attorney to evaluate your situation and explore your legal options. They can provide personalized advice based on the specifics of your case.

  4. File for Unemployment Benefits: Even if you’re terminated after giving notice, you may still be eligible for unemployment benefits. Follow the appropriate steps to file a claim with the California Employment Development Department (EDD).

What Are the Repercussions for Pay and Unemployment Benefits if You’re Fired After Quitting?

If you’re fired after giving notice, you may still be entitled to receive pay for the remainder of your notice period, depending on company policy and state law. However, some employers may choose to stop paying you immediately upon termination.

As for unemployment benefits, eligibility varies depending on the reason for termination and state laws. In most cases, if you were terminated through no fault of your own, such as a layoff or company closure, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. However, if you were fired for misconduct or voluntarily resigned without good cause, you may not qualify for benefits.

How an Attorney Can Help You After Being Fired Following Giving Notice

Understanding the complexities of employment law, especially concerning wrongful termination or unfair treatment after giving notice, can be challenging. Here’s how an attorney can assist you in such a case:

  1. Legal Assessment: An employment attorney evaluates your termination circumstances, examining employment contracts and evidence to gauge the strength of your wrongful termination case.

  2. Understanding Your Rights: They clarify your protections under state and federal laws, guiding you on discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination issues.

  3. Legal Strategy: Crafting a tailored plan, attorneys gather evidence, advise negotiation tactics, or represent you in court to seek fair compensation and resolution.

  4. Negotiations: Attorneys represent your interests in talks with your employer, aiming for a fair settlement or resolution without the need for litigation.

  5. Litigation Representation: If negotiations fail, attorneys file legal documents, present evidence, and argue your case in court to maximize your chances of success.

  6. Maximizing Compensation: Attorneys help you secure back pay, reinstatement, severance, and damages for emotional distress by accurately assessing your losses and advocating for your rights.

  7. Protecting Against Retaliation: Attorneys advise on safeguarding against employer retaliation and take legal action if necessary to hold them accountable for any retaliatory actions.

can employer fire you after 2 week notice

Empower Your Employment Rights with BLG

In conclusion, while it’s possible to be fired after giving two weeks notice, whether it constitutes wrongful termination depends on the circumstances. Employers have the discretion to terminate employees at-will, but they must do so in compliance with state and federal laws.

If you believe that your termination was unlawful, you should seek legal advice to understand your rights and options. Remember, knowledge of employment laws and your rights as an employee is crucial in navigating the complexities of the workplace.

If you’re facing uncertainty regarding your employment situation or believe you’ve been wrongfully terminated, don’t hesitate to reach out to BLG. Our experienced attorneys specialize in employment law and are dedicated to protecting your rights in the workplace.

Contact us today for a free consultation.


What happens if you give two weeks notice and they ask you to leave?

If you give a two week notice and your employer asks you to leave immediately, it’s at their discretion. You may still be entitled to pay for the notice period, depending on your employment contract and local laws.

Do employers care about 2 weeks notice?

Yes, generally employers appreciate a two week period as it gives them time to find a replacement and smoothly transition your responsibilities. It also reflects positively on your professionalism.

Why does it say terminated if I quit?

Sometimes, companies use “terminated” as a generic term in employment records to indicate the end of employment, whether it’s due to resignation or other reasons. It doesn’t necessarily imply misconduct.

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