Quit Your Job

Can You Get Fired During Two-Week Notice?

You’ve found a wonderful new job, you’ve written a resignation letter, and you’re ready to give your two weeks’ notice. This is an exciting time, but you may be worried about your employer’s reaction. You may even be asking yourself, “Can you get fired during a two weeks’ notice?” Understanding all of the possible outcomes of resigning from your position will help you prepare properly.

I Put in My 2 Weeks’ Notice and They Let Me Go

You’ll occasionally hear former employees say, “I put in my 2 weeks’ notice and they let me go.” While employers typically take advantage of this time offered, you need to know that they don’t have to keep you on for the full two weeks.

Most allow you to stay because they want to avoid putting their reputation as an employer at risk. Pay attention to what happens when co-workers put in their two-week notice. This gives you a good indication of how your company typically handles these situations.

Read More: Can An Employer Fire You Without Notice?

Can You Get Fired During A Two Weeks’ Notice?

The answer is yes. There are situations where an employee will tell you that you are no longer needed the moment you hand over your letter of resignation. They may not fire you but simply tell you that they no longer need your services.

Here are a few reasons why an employer might decide to dismiss an employee once they have given notice:

  1. Employee is joining a competitor: If the employer learns that the employer is leaving for a competitor, they may dismiss the employee immediately to avoid any potential leakage of sensitive company information, trade secrets, or strategic plans to their competitor.
  2. Deteriorated employment relationship: If the working relationship has become strained, to a point where the employer is inclined to end it than wait they may choose to terminate the employee before the notice period concludes.
  3. Financial considerations: In situations where employer is aware of an employee departure they might want to cease payment and quickly hire a replacement.
  4. Justifiable cause: Employers have the authority to terminate employees for reasons such, as incompetence, lack of productivity, poor work quality, insubordination, dishonesty or violation of company policies.

These are some factors that could contribute to an employers decision to let go of an employee after they have given their notice. However in the event that an employer terminates an employee, with cause they might be obligated to present substantiating proof that the termination was rooted in the individuals actions than any form of prejudice or bias, against a particular group or category of individuals.

Read More: Why Do Managers Get Mad When You Quit?  

If You Give Two Weeks’ Notice And They Ask You To Leave, Do They Have To Pay You?

Most employers do pay you regardless, but no, they aren’t legally obligated to. Ultimately, the choice to terminate early – with or without pay – is up to the employer’s discretion, unless stated otherwise in your contract. However, the employer must pay you for any work completed within two weeks’ notice period.

Even if they don’t pay you, you are likely entitled to personal days and vacation pay that you haven’t used.

Some states have different rules, and some employers may have policies that entitles you to this pay. The only exception would be if you walked out without officially giving a two-week notice.

If the employer asks you to leave before your notice period is up and does not pay you for that time, it may be considered an involuntary termination according to the state’s unemployment insurance department. In this case, you could be eligible for unemployment benefits.

It’s important to check your local laws, your employment contract, and your company’s policies to understand what applies in your specific situation.

As the employer is not obligated to pay you, be prepared to leave without any pay for the remaining notice period. Have a plan in place in case this happens. Budget your money so that you’ll be able to cover your expenses during the period between when you give notice and when you receive the first paycheck from your new job.

Related Article: Should I Give 2 Weeks’ Notice Before Background Check?

I Quit but They Said I Was Fired

Your employer can fire you immediately upon learning of your plans. This is because the majority of workers in the United States are employed at will. Being employed at will gives your employer the right to fire you at any time. They don’t need a reason for your termination. As long as they aren’t discriminating against you for your age, race, sex, disability, religion, genetic information, or national origin, they can.

If you’re not considered employed “at will”, you probably have a union agreement or an employment contract that protects you. Your state may also have laws in place that provide exceptions to employment-at-will policies.

Be Prepared For Anything

There’s not much you can do if your employer fires you after you give your notice. The best thing to do is to prepare yourself before you turn in your resignation. Start by reviewing your employee handbook. This will give you information on how your company handles a two-week notice and how they honor it. If nothing else, this will put your mind at ease.

Most companies will allow you to complete your two-week notice in order to protect their image as employers. They don’t want you to leave angry. They worry that you’ll get revenge by sharing their proprietary information with their competition. They also don’t want word to get out that they treat their employees unfairly. This would make it harder for them to find someone to replace you.

A successful and competent company understands the importance of the two weeks’ notice and uses it to its advantage. It gives them time to hire your replacement, review the details of any ongoing projects you are a part of, and arrange for others to temporarily take over your duties. This will avoid disruptions in their productivity and put less burden on their other employees.

Understand that there is always the possibility of being escorted out as soon as you hand over your resignation. If this happens, you may not have a chance to return to your desk. Before giving your two-week notice, pack up your personal items and clear your computer. Remove all personal documents and emails, and clear the browser history. Reset your passwords too. Do this for all of your company’s computers, tablets, and mobile devices. Keep anything you want for your portfolio or that you want for future jobs by taking a screenshot or by saving it in a PDF. Don’t forget to gather contact information, not only for clients but for co-workers you want to keep in touch with too.

Read More: Putting In Resignation: Do’s and Don’ts

I Put In My Two Weeks’ Notice And Got Fired. Can I Get Unemployment?

You should always look into unemployment benefits. In certain situations, you may be eligible for it if you were fired. For instance, you might be protected against wrongful termination if your termination is determined to be unfair. Know that even if you do qualify, you’ll still need to budget for the waiting period before those unemployment payments begin.

Each state has its own rules and eligibility criteria for unemployment benefits, so it’s important to check your state’s specific regulations

Moving Forward After Your Resignation

Can you get fired during your two week notice? Yes, but regardless of whether you leave after completing your two weeks or not, you want to leave your position on a positive note. It may be tempting to let your anger take over and post your story on social media, but it’s best to stay calm. You don’t want to burn your bridges or do or say anything that could jeopardize a future position.

Prepare yourself for any outcome before writing your formal letter of resignation and offering two weeks notice. This allows you to move forward with a positive attitude and a bright future.

Disclaimer: The details provided in this article should not be construed as legal advice and do not serve as an alternative to such advice. Laws at the state and federal levels are often updated, and the content in this piece might not align with the laws specific to your state or the most recent legal changes. Neither the author nor Eggcellentwork will assume any legal liability that may arise from the use of the information in this article.

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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