If you're an employer, you have undoubtedly had an employee announce their intention to leave your employment. It goes with the territory.

How you handle these moments is important—mistakes can be costly.

So, let's look at a few scenarios…

Employee fails to commit to a firm separation date.

If an employee walks into your office and tells you he or she is leaving, you have the right to plan for a smooth transition.

That means you have the right to set an employment end date.

You decide to send them home the day they tell you they are leaving.

Do you have a right to send a staffer home the day they inform you of their intent to leave your employment?  

Yup.

But… it's generally a good idea to pay them two weeks of severance pay as well. 

Sending them home immediately and failing to pay two weeks' severance turns a resignation into a discharge.

Why? In many cases, employee handbooks state that employees must give two weeks' notice when leaving your employment.

Sending them home immediately on their giving notice and failing to pay them two weeks' severance turns a resignation into a discharge and may result in your employee being able to make an expensive claim for unemployment compensation.

Such an action may also result in a wrongful termination claim against you.

May I ask for their resignation in writing?

Absolutely.

Getting their notice in writing prevents an employee from playing games and reneging on their intention to leave.

What to do when an employee changes their mind about quitting.

Can an employee change their mind?

Sure. But that doesn't mean you have to accept them back.

If you have posted the opening, interviewed candidates, begun reassigning work—then you have a right to say "no thank you."

If the employee that resigned is an underperformer—move quickly to post the job, interview others, and reassign the work.

In fact, if the employee that tendered their resignation is an underperformer—move quickly to post the job, interview others, and reassign the work.

Doing so will allow you to terminate the relationship without concern that you will face a wrongful termination claim.


About the author: Jennifer Dixon is a partner at the labor and employment law firm Kainen, Escalera & McHale in Hartford.