Am I required to give notice to vacate a position?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Am I required to give notice to vacate a position?

As an at-will employee. I understand that there are no laws requiring me to give notice. My employer, however, states in the employee handbook, that an employee must give 3 weeks notice, during which time leave will not be authorized regardless of the employee’s PTO balance. Furthermore, the employee will not be reimbursed for any PTO remaining on the books. Must I abide by this 3 week notification requirement and what are the ramifications if I give less than 3 weeks notice?

Asked on February 14, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you have to abide by it: those rules, of which you aware and which you have effectively agreed to abide by, by working there with knowledge of them, can be considere to constitute a contract. (When you do something knowing what the rules are, you are considered to agree to those rules.) While you can, of course, quit without notice (or insufficient notice), if you do, they will be entitled to deny you leave and to not pay out your PTO; and if you nonetheless received one of these benefits (e.g. you took vacation, then quit with less than three weeks notice), they could sue you to get back the value of the benefit you improperly received in contravention of the handbook rules (e.g. sue you for the value of the vacation you took). They would sue you based on "breach of contract," or violating the agreement created by the handbook rules and you choosing to work there with knowledge of the rules.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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