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You are Here: Home > Blog > Must I Write a Resignation Letter?

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Employee Rights and Related Matters

Must I Write a Resignation Letter?

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

There is no federal “resignation law” that requires you to write a resignation letter to “legally” resign from your job; but, there’s more to it.

Under the Doctrine of Employment at Will, you may quit your job at anytime and for any reason without giving advanced notice of resignation to your employer.

However, if you signed an employment agreement that effectively cancels the no-notice provision of the Doctrine, then you might suffer the consequences if you don’t give your employer notice, such as by the customary method of writing a resignation letter and submitting it at least two weeks in advance.

For example, you might have signed an agreement among the mountain of paperwork you signed during new-hire orientation day, promising that you would adhere to all of your new employer’s policies.

If so and you don’t follow your employer’s policy requiring you to write a resignation letter to quit your job, then your employer might have the right to deprive you of termination benefits for policy violation, such as severance pay or unused sick pay.

Additionally, your work state might have enacted a final pay law that has a provision for giving your employer minimum advanced notice of resignation, such as by writing a resignation letter and submitting it in a timely way. If you don’t follow the law, then, of course, you won’t get a ticket or go to jail; but, if you do follow the law, then you might receive your final paycheck sooner.

For example, if you submit your resignation letter to your employer at least 72 hours in advance of quitting your job, then your work state’s final pay law might require your employer to issue your final paycheck¬†on your last day of work instead of within 30 days.

Regardless, it’s likely not a good idea to burn a bridge by just walking off your job. The fact that you didn’t bother to write a resignation letter might haunt you down the road, during employment background checks.

For resignation letter samples along with writing tips, such as what to say and more importantly, what not to say, see the informative article Writing a Letter of Resignation.

Did you know? One of the most common questions to which employees want an answer after submitting their resignation letters, is whether or not their employers had the right to immediately terminate their employment without paying them through their advanced resignation notice periods. See the blog post Resignation Notice and Pay for an answer.

For more about the topic of employment termination, browse the Termination section. Consult a lawyer for legal advice about same.

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