There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to quitting your job.
Do I have to give notice?
How much notice do I give?
What are the consequences?
These are all common questions that I want to get to the bottom of today.
I’m going to get straight to the point with this article and explain exactly what you can and cannot do.
Is it illegal to quit your job without notice?
In summary of the video above, you do not have to give any notice if you are an at-will employee.
You do not need any reason and can quit on the spot if you want to.
This is usually the case with most US employees.
At-will employment means you are not bound by a contract and can quit at any given moment.
You do not have to give 2 weeks notice and can legally walk out the door and not turn back.
However, this also means the employer can dismiss you at any time.
No warning, no notice, nothing…as long as the reason isn’t illegal.
If the reason is illegal, you can dispute it and take the employer to court.
This is not something I recommend though as this can become very costly and if you lose, you will owe money AND have the dispute against your name.
This is the complete opposite of at-will employment and can get you in some trouble if you are not familiar with your contract.
This is where things get difficult and confusing, especially when you are told by others that you do not have to give any notice.
A contract is a document you sign at the beginning of your employment.
By signing your document, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions in the contract.
I really do hope you read your contract thoroughly before signing your name!
Because breaking a contract can get you in legal trouble, and this is not something you want to happen.
Future employees will want to know the reason if this does happen.
If you want to give no notice while in a contract employment, think again.
Not giving any notice is not really possible and you will have to give as much notice as it states in your contract.
The standard is 2 weeks, which is probably what you have.
In rare instances you might have 3-4 weeks in your contract, so you better check that out if you haven’t yet already.
Pro tip: If you want to give shorter notice, talk to your employer and explain your circumstances. They might surprise you by agreeing to the terms that you can leave earlier.
Consequences from giving no notice
As an at-will employee who is not bound by a contract, you are not required to give any notice.
But if you decide to go this route, know that there will be some consequences.
- A bad reference for future employers
- You’ll be burning bridges
- Could upset coworkers by giving them extra workload
- May not be hirable in that same business line again
Even though there are consequences, quitting without notice with an at-will employment isn’t going to destroy your career.
As I mentioned earlier, quitting when you’re bound by contract is not easy.
Consequences are far worse! You can:
- Get into legal trouble
- You are more difficult to be hired in the future with a legal dispute to your name
- You’ll be burning bridges
- You’re going to get a bad reference. If it’s you’re only job, you will need a good reference for future employers
Should you give no notice?
Whether you should or shouldn’t give notice all depends on the type of employment you have, your employer and your situation.
If you have signed an employment contract, it’ll be in your best interest to follow the terms and conditions in the contract and avoid legal trouble.
If you’re just an at-will employee, this all comes down to personal preference.
If you definitely cannot give notice because your new employer requires an immediate start, then don’t give any notice.
Or if your new job needs you in 3 weeks, you could give 2 weeks notice and help out in your current job until it’s time to leave.
You could finish projects you started or even train your replacement, which makes you look extremely professional 🙂
Can you quit without notice due to mental health problems?
Jobs can give us significant health problems, some more than others.
Sometimes we can handle them, sometimes it’s just a bad day, and other times it’s an entire bad year or even decade!
If you are at risk of getting injured, a risk to yourself and others, or simply can’t function properly in your workplace anymore, it’s probably best to quit.
And doing it without notice is 100% possible, both with an at-will and contract employment.
But how is this this even possible even when you are bound by a contract?
Fortunately it’s your lucky day because in this situation you can definitely break a contract and not give ANY notice for quitting your job.
But keep in mind that it has to be a legit illness and you will need a medical document from the doctor that states you are no longer fit to work and must terminate your employment immediately.
This will break your contract agreement.
If your employer tries taking you to court, all odds are in your favor and you will likely win.
Do know that if you quit without notice, even with no contract agreement, you might have to explain yourself to future employers.
Unless you don’t bother telling them about that job which is not really possible if you’ve worked there for a long time.
The key takeaways here are:
- If you’re an at-will employee, give notice whenever possible
- Respect your contract agreement and give the specified amount of time for your notice
- If your health as suffering, get a medical and break that contract asap
Thanks for reading.
If you have something to say about this article please speak your mind and tell us in the comments below.
Brandon is from New Zealand and does affiliate marketing full-time. This is his job and loves every second of it. He hated the typical 9-5 and found a way out of the rat race. The reason he created this website was to help and inspire others who also want a way out.