There Have Always Been Questions Re Quit-Related Notice

How many times a day is this question posed by one worker to another employee at worksites across the country: If you won the lottery tomorrow, would you give notice?

A common response is Connecticut and elsewhere is certainly, “Are you kidding?” Of course, legions of workers valuing their jobs, co-workers and managers would provide notice of their intention to quit and continue to stay on for some specified period to allow for a smooth transition. Work needs to be reassigned. Fresh blood likely needs to be brought on board. Retraining of other employees might be required.

Other workers, though, would see the door and bolt for it immediately.

Which raises the question: Is giving notice to quit employment required? Does an employer have any legal right to insist that a worker stay with the company for some stated period before leaving?

A recent article by the Society for Human Resource Management spotlights that subject matter. It stresses that an employer wanting to express a notice dictate to all departing workers should “be aware of the associated risks” in doing so.

For starters, courts generally frown on work policies and contractual language that places a restriction on worker mobility and the freedom to pursue new opportunities. One commentator in the above SHRM piece duly notes that a judge will generally refuse to enforce a clause “that requires individuals to work somewhere against their will.”

Other avenues might reasonably be pursued to ensure some continuity and smoothness in transition. Perhaps a bonus or other incentive can be offered to a worker who agrees to stay on for a requisite period. Unused vacation days might be converted to cash (if that is not already mandated in company policy).

SHRM makes the notable point that state laws can differ appreciably on the subject. Affected parties having quit-related questions or concerns might reasonably wish to consult with a proven employment law attorney.

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