When an Employee Resigns…

The resignation of an employee can be a stressful and complicated experience. How should the process work? What are your legal responsibilities? Here are some of the common questions we get on this topic:

Do I have to honor the notice period?

No. Outside of a written contract, an employer does not have to allow the employee to work out the notice period. If there is a concern about unemployment, pay the employee the notice. This is worth doing if the employee can do harm to your business, creates unrest among other workers, or checks out mentally during the period.

And later wants to rescind his/her resignation?

Check your company policy to see if this specific area is mentioned. Absent a policy, check precedent cases. What have you done in the past? If on new ground, consider the employee’s reasons for quitting in the first place. If the employee expressed unhappiness over the work, co-workers, you, chances are you are unlikely to allow the rescission. If, on the other hand, there is a compelling reason – e.g. spouse’s relocation has been cancelled – you might want to re-consider.

And later says it was a misunderstanding, and did not resign. What to do?

Virginia is an “at will” state – you can choose whether or not to accept the resignation. Check precedents, review reasons for the initial resignation, determine if this employee is worth keeping. Good reason to have all resignations in writing, and let the employee know you accept the resignation on the spot.

What if you hear an employee is “looking for another job?”

Try to find out why. If the reason is something you can and are willing to change, do something about it. If he/she is looking for new opportunities and is a “keeper,” see if you can find additional or other assignments for him/her. If the reason(s) are nothing you can or want to change, start looking for a replacement.

The above information is provided for informational purposes and is not to be considered legal advice. Questions, call Larry Elinskas at 804-966-8100.