A client called us last week with the following dilemma:
His employee had given him two weeks notice that she was quitting her job. He had recently given her a couple of warnings about her poor performance, and was worried that her attitude during her final two weeks at the company would be negative, and have an impact on other employees.
He wanted to know if he could decline her two weeks notice and make her resign, effective immediately.
I understand his concerns about allowing an employee with questionable loyalty to continue working at his organization. However, there are a few very good reasons why he shouldn’t force her to immediately resign.
The drawbacks of forcing an employee to immediately resign:
- If he let her go immediately, he would effectively be terminating her, rather than accepting her resignation. This means she would likely qualify for unemployment benefits based on her termination status, and that the company would now financially be on the hook for those benefits.
- If the company has a written policy regarding employee discipline and termination, forcing her to resign immediately might actually violate the terms of that policy.
- In the future, other employees who are resigning might not be as likely to give two weeks notice after seeing another employee terminated immediately upon tendering her resignation.
A better way to handle a resigning employee:
A better way of handling this would be to graciously accept her resignation, but let her know that she does not need to complete the remaining two weeks of her employment, and that you will provide her with compensation for those two weeks.
Handle the discussion with as much respect for the employee as possible in order to prevent negative attitudes that can come back to harm your company. In this way, everyone wins!