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Do you need to give an employee 2-weeks’ notice to fire them?

On Behalf of | May 20, 2022 | Business Law |

As an employer, you have a lot of things to think about and consider daily. One of these things is the people you employ. 

As an employer in an at-will employment state, you have the right to fire employees at any time, for almost any reason (with discrimination or retaliation being notable exceptions. Unless you have created internal policies that state otherwise or you have a contract, you do not need to give the employee a two-week notice.

Understanding at-will employment

Massachusetts is an at-will employment state. This means as an employer; you are not legally required to provide a reason to fire someone or give them advance notice. A working relationship is something that only exists if the two parties are willing to continue it. 

While employees are asked to provide a two-week notice when they plan to leave, this is not legally required. Employers cannot make this a factor of employment. 

Are there exceptions to the rules?

There are typically exceptions to these rules. For example, if a company has termination policies in place, then both employees and employers must abide by them if they were agreed to in a contract. 

For example,  in some employment contracts, employees are given the right to receive a verbal and written warning before they are fired. However, beyond this, no additional steps must be taken (in most cases) due to at-will employment. 

Handling employment issues

As a business owner, you must understand the employment laws you must follow and comply with them. If issues arise, employers need to understand their legal rights in the situation.