Can I ask an employee when she intends to resign?

An employee may be going to another company but has not given a notice. Is it OK for a supervisor to demand a date of departure and ask how much the new job will pay?

Posted 05-27-2015

Ann Kiernan replies:

An employer is certainly entitled to ask when – and if – an employee intends to resign. And while you can ask what the new job pays, the employee has no obligation to tell you.

While you do not have to let the employee work through the notice period, there are several issues that you should think about before making the notice date an employee’s last day of work.

First, if you immediately ends the employment relationship, the employee’s resignation may well be considered an involuntary termination from the company, which might entitle the employee to collect unemployment.

Second, you should consider the impact that an immediate termination would have on the worker’s colleagues and co-workers and remaining employees. Immediate termination might cause resentment of management and might inspire other employees to quit without giving notice.

Finally, does your company policy require employees to give a certain period (say, two weeks) of notice? If so, an employee might argue that the policy two weeks’ pay if the employer made the resignation effective immediately.

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Ann Kiernan has litigated claims of wrongful discharge and discrimination before state and federal courts and administrative matters before the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, representing both employers and employees. Ms. Kiernan co-hosted The Employee Rights Forum, a weekly radio call-in show reaching up to a half-million listeners in the New York metropolitan area, and her articles on employment law have been published in many books and magazines. Both as a firm partner and as a director, Ms. Kiernan gained solid experience in management and human resources compliance. She has worked with Fair Measures since 1997.