Resigning Without Notice

Tips and Advice on Crafting a Letter

I quit written on post-it note stuck to computer keyboard
Not the way to resign. Photoevent/E+/Getty Images

In nearly all states, both employees and employers have the right under at-will employment laws to terminate their relationship without notice and for any reason, according to Michael Schmidt, vice chair of labor and employment practice in New York at the law firm Cozen O’Connor. However, giving two weeks notice is a widely accepted standard of workplace practice.

If you quit without notice, some companies will penalize you, depending on their written policies and the contact you've signed.

You may lose unused vacation time or paid time off, or forfeit educational benefits. Before you announce your leave, check your contact and the employer’s handbook so you're prepared.

Resigning Without Notice

Whenever possible, give your employer a minimum of two weeks notice before leaving your job as a professional courtesy. There are times, however, when circumstances beyond your control necessitate an immediate resignation. The resignation letter example below can be used in these instances.

Include a cc line at the bottom of the letter to send copies to any others at the company--those might include your group's senior manager, director or vice president and a human resources manager. Print out your resignation letter, sign it and keep a copy; don't send it via email.

Sample Resignation Letter With No Notice

Dear Mr./Ms. Manager:

Please accept this as my resignation from (company name), effective immediately.

I regret the inconvenience it will cause, but circumstances have left me no choice. I will be in contact with Human Resources to make arrangements for my final paycheck. If problems arise, you please call me at 555-1234 and I’ll do my best to help.

Sincerely,

Tips for Resigning Without Notice

  1. Inform your employer that you are resigning effectively and immediately and apologize that you couldn't inform him earlier. Point out that you would have liked to notify the company beforehand but circumstances prevented you from doing so and thus you were unable to comply with the two-week notice period. If you are a contractual employee, request that your employer waive the notice period requirement and allow you to leave immediately.
  1. Indicate that you will be available to answer questions about any of the work or projects you'd been handling if your employer needs assistance. Notify your employer if you can recommend a colleague who can manage or take over your projects.
  2. Thank your employer for the work opportunity you had. You never know when you'll cross paths again, either as colleagues or clients, so it's wise to stay on good terms despite this difficult situation.
  3. Think twice! Quitting without notice is usually done when you are overcome by emotion; you might feel angry, offended, frustrated or helpless. Acting on your feelings in the heat of the moment can burn bridges, destroy references and put your employer in a tough position, leaving the company scrambling to unexpectedly fill your spot. Try talking to a manager first, express your feelings and concerns, and see if there are any remedies to resolve the situation.

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