Is it legal to penalize employees who do not provide notice before quitting?

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Is it legal to penalize employees who do not provide notice before quitting?

For example, withholding accrued vacation pay.

Asked on January 17, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, notice is NOT required; employment is "employment at will" unless and only to the extent there is an employment contract to the contrary. Otherwise, either party may terminate the employment relationship at any time, without notice.

Therefore, generally no--you can't withhold any pay due to leaving employees because they failed to provide notice, except and only to the extent that there is a some contract or agreement which gives you the right to do this. That said, if you want to create an incentive for employees to give notice, you could have employees execute an agreement that they will not receive any acrued vacation pay upon their resigning or quitting unless they gave at least, say, two weeks, notice. Have employees sign it, make it easy to understand, and give them their own copy to hold onto.


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