Can you be asked to give 2 weeks notice after being told that you were fired?

UPDATED: Feb 19, 2012

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Can you be asked to give 2 weeks notice after being told that you were fired?

My son works at a local hospital as a dietary aid. He is constantly coupled with a handicapped co-worker who cannot keep up with the job. My son is expected to do his job and pick up the slack for this co-worker also. He has gotten written up 4 times due to this problem. Now he has been told that they are firing him but they want him to give his 2 weeks notice. The boss told him to put the paper on his desk. My son didn’t know what that meant, so he didn’t do it and told me about it. I told him not to write anything. What do we do about this situation?

Asked on February 19, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If your son provides notice, that will be taken as he is quitting or resigning; that is, providing notice will make this a voluntary separation from employment, which in turn means that he will be ineligible, or unable to collect, unemployment compensation. If he wants or needs to receive unemployment insurance (UI), he needs to be fired, laid off, or terminated (as long as it is not firing for cause--e.g. for violating company policy, excessive absenteeism, etc.). Putting in notice will almost certainly, on the other hand, preclude him from collecting UI--which is probably what the employer wants (they don't want his unemployment counted against them).

If they are firing him, then they would seem to have no leverage to make him provide notice--what else can they do? If they really want him to resign and provide notice, let them offer him something, like severance, to make it worthwhile.

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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