Navigating the Complexities: Can You Be Terminated After Resigning?

The decision to resign from a job is often a significant life event, marking the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. However, the transition process can sometimes be marred by unexpected complications, such as being terminated by your employer after submitting your resignation. This situation raises important questions about employee rights, wrongful termination, and the legal implications surrounding resignation notice periods.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the intricacies of being terminated after resigning, providing you with valuable insights and practical advice to navigate this delicate situation successfully.

Understanding Resignation Notice Periods

When an employee decides to leave their job, it’s customary and professional to provide a notice period, typically two weeks. This notice period serves several purposes:

  1. Transition Planning: It allows the employer ample time to plan for the employee’s departure, redistribute their workload, and initiate the hiring process for a replacement.

  2. Knowledge Transfer: During the notice period, the employee can document their work, train colleagues, and ensure a smooth handover of responsibilities.

  3. Professional Courtesy: Providing adequate notice demonstrates respect for the employer and maintains a positive professional relationship.

However, it’s important to note that notice periods are not always legally binding, and employers may choose to terminate an employee immediately upon receiving their resignation.

The Legal Landscape: At-Will Employment and Wrongful Termination

In many states, including California, the concept of “at-will employment” applies. This means that both the employer and the employee have the right to terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause or notice. While this may seem concerning, it’s important to remember that at-will employment does not give employers carte blanche to terminate employees for illegal reasons.

Wrongful termination occurs when an employer fires an employee for reasons that violate federal or state laws, such as discrimination based on age, race, gender, or disability, or in retaliation for reporting illegal activities or filing a workers’ compensation claim.

If you believe that your termination after resigning was motivated by unlawful reasons, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination claim.

Navigating Immediate Termination: Unemployment Benefits and Severance Pay

If your employer chooses to terminate you immediately upon receiving your resignation, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. In many cases, being let go before completing your notice period qualifies as a layoff or termination through no fault of your own, potentially entitling you to unemployment compensation.

However, it’s essential to understand that each state has its own specific requirements and waiting periods for unemployment benefits. Additionally, some employers may offer severance pay as part of a negotiated separation agreement, which can provide financial support during the transition period.

Recognizing Unlawful Retaliation and Discrimination

While immediate termination upon resignation is not inherently illegal, it’s crucial to be aware of potential signs of unlawful retaliation or discrimination. If you recently filed a complaint or reported illegal activities within the company, and your termination followed shortly after, it may constitute retaliation.

Similarly, if you suspect that your termination was motivated by discriminatory reasons based on your age, race, gender, disability, or other protected characteristics, you may have grounds for a discrimination claim.

In such cases, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced employment law attorney who can assess your situation and guide you through the appropriate legal channels.

Seeking Legal Advice and Support

Navigating the complexities of termination after resignation can be daunting, especially when legal issues are involved. If you find yourself in this situation and believe that your rights have been violated, seeking legal advice from a reputable employment law firm is strongly recommended.

Experienced employment lawyers can:

  • Evaluate the circumstances surrounding your termination and determine if it constitutes wrongful termination or unlawful retaliation.
  • Advise you on the appropriate steps to take, such as filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or pursuing legal action.
  • Represent you in negotiations with your former employer, ensuring that your rights and interests are protected.
  • Assist you in seeking compensation for lost wages, emotional distress, or other damages resulting from the unlawful termination.

Remember, federal and state laws exist to protect employees from unfair and discriminatory practices, and seeking legal counsel can ensure that your rights are upheld.


Being terminated after resigning can be a challenging and emotionally taxing experience. However, by understanding your rights, recognizing potential legal violations, and seeking appropriate legal support, you can navigate this situation with confidence and protect your interests.

Remember, immediate termination upon resignation is not inherently illegal, but if it is motivated by unlawful reasons, such as retaliation or discrimination, you may have grounds for legal action. Consulting with an experienced employment law attorney can provide you with valuable guidance and representation throughout this process.

Ultimately, being informed and proactive can help you safeguard your rights and ensure a fair and just transition to your next professional endeavor.

Terminated After Giving Resignation Notice, Legal? Depends


Can I get fired after resigning?

Employers can terminate you after you resign, and in most situations, it is not against the law.

Why does it say terminated if I quit?

According to the Employment Standards Act section 56 (1) (b), an employer is considered to have “terminated” the employment of an employee if “the employer constructively dismisses the employee and the employee resigns from his or her employment in response to that within a reasonable period.”

When you resign from a job what are you entitled to?

When you leave your job, whether you quit, are fired, or are laid off, you are entitled to receive all of the compensation you have already earned. State laws determine how much time the employer has to get you your final paycheck.

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