Ask Slashdot: Is It Ever OK To Quit Without Giving Notice?

HughPickens.com writes: Employees and employers alike have the right under at-will employment laws in almost all states to end their relationship without notice, for any reason, but the two-week rule is a widely accepted standard of workplace conduct. However, Sue Shellenbarger writes at the WSJ that a growing number of workers are leaving without giving two weeks’ notice. Some bosses blame young employees who feel frustrated by limited prospects or have little sense of attachment to their workplace. But employment experts say some older workers are quitting without notice as well. They feel overworked or unappreciated after years of laboring under pay cuts and expanded workloads imposed during the recession. One employee at Dupray, a customer-service rep, scheduled a meeting and announced she was quitting, then rose and headed for the exit. She seemed surprised when the director of human resources stopped her and explained that employees are expected to give two weeks’ notice. “She said, ‘I’ve been watching ‘Suits,’ and this is how it happens,'” referring to the TV drama set in a law firm.

According to Shellenbarger, quitting without notice is sometimes justified. Employees with access to proprietary information, such as those working in sales or new-product development, face a conflict of interest if they accept a job with a competitor. Employees in such cases typically depart right away — ideally, by mutual agreement. It can also be best to exit quickly if an employer is abusive, or if you suspect your employer is doing something illegal. More often, quitting without notice “is done in the heat of emotion, by someone who is completely frustrated, angry, offended or upset,” says David Lewis, president of OperationsInc., a Norwalk, Conn., human-resources consulting firm. That approach can burn bridges and generate bad references. Phyllis Hartman says employees have a responsibility to try to communicate about what’s wrong. “Start figuring out if there is anything you can do to fix it. The worst that can happen is that nobody listens or they tell you no.” What do you Slashdotters think about providing employers notice of departure? Has there ever been a circumstance that warranted quitting your job without any prior notice?


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