Issues to Consider If You Cut Short a Quitting Employee’s Time at Work

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An employee who has been something of a problem for the company came to me today, and stated that she was quitting. She told me she was giving me two weeks’ notice, and that her last day would be a week from Friday. I’m concerned that this employee will be disruptive during these next two weeks, and I’d rather not have her creating problems. Can I tell her that today can be her last day, and that we’re accepting her resignation effective today rather than in two weeks?

Assuming you don’t require two weeks advance notice in your employee handbook, the simple answer is “yes.”

If you cut short the employee’s intended length of employment, however, there will be some consequences of which you need to be aware.

If you tell the employee that her last day is today, rather than in two weeks (as the employee has requested), for purposes of final pay rules and unemployment insurance, the separation from employment will be considered an involuntary termination and not a voluntary quit.

As a result, you will need to provide the employee with a check for all wages due and owing, including any accrued and unused vacation or paid time off (PTO) at the time you tell her you are ending her employment.

If you were to allow the employee to work the next two weeks, her final wages would be due on her last day of employment, since she gave you more than 72 hours’ notice of her intent to quit.

In addition, if this employee files for unemployment insurance, she will be entitled to benefits as the Employment Development Department will consider the separation to be “involuntary,” since the employee had stated her intent to work for two additional weeks, and the employer decided to end the employment at an earlier date.

The employee would likely have been disqualified from receiving benefits if you allowed her to work during the two weeks of her notice of resignation, but since you cut short that timeline, she will now be eligible to receive unemployment benefits.


Column based on questions asked by callers on the Labor Law Helpline, a service to California Chamber of Commerce preferred and executive members. For expert explanations of labor laws and Cal/OSHA regulations, not legal counsel for specific situations, call (800) 348-2262 or submit your question at www.hrcalifornia.com.

Staff Contact: David Leporiere

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David Leporiere
About David Leporiere
David Leporiere joined the CalChamber in 2014 and currently serves as an HR adviser. Specializing in employment and labor law on behalf of businesses and business owners, he also has provided training for employers on a wide variety of employment-related topics, including discrimination, harassment, wage and hour, and leave laws and regulations. He holds a J.D. from the University of California, Davis.