I want to leave a new job, canI do so without giving notice?

UPDATED: Jan 15, 2011

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I want to leave a new job, canI do so without giving notice?

I started a new job 2 weeks ago. I’ve been very unhappy and the work conditions were not what I was led to believe. It turns that there is a high employee turnover here because of these intolerable conditions. I’d like to submit my resignation ASAP. Is this possible? Should I personally submit it or can it be by postal mail? IPlease note: I haven’t yet signed my employment the contract; it mentions that those in their probationary period should give a 1 month notice (I want to leave immediately). I’ve ordered some office supplies already.

Asked on January 15, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

IF there is an employment contract in place, you'd have to honor it and provide 1 month notice. If  the contract is not yet in force, you may leave immediately--employment, in the abscence of an employment contract, is "employment at will" and either party may end the employment relationship at any time, without notice. You may provide your resignation by any means you like--in person, phone, mail, etc.

That said:

1) If the company has expended any money or resources on you (e.g. training, uniforms) and you leave immediately, they *may* seek to recover those (even if they end up losing, as they may well, due to the employment at will doctrine, that may not stop them from trying) or at least, this will cause bad feelings (see below).

2) You don't want to burn bridges in this economy. If it would be expected that  you'd provide 1 month's notice and the mere fact that you haven't yet signed the contract is the reason you wouldn't, you really should consider providing the asked-for notice--it is only month, after all.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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