I've been working at a fast food joint part-time for about 2 weeks and I'm doing the job of cashier and janitor. For the janitor part, I have to deal with cleaning sprays that give me day-long migraines and medicine isn't helping.

Can I quit this job without the regular 2 weeks notice (of course giving letting my boss know why)?

  • 3
    Is there any possibility of changing your duties do you don't have to use the cleaning products? Sep 22, 2018 at 8:02
  • 9
    where do you live? the rules (and the importance of your boss giving you a good reference) vary with geography. Sep 22, 2018 at 11:23
  • 8
    This question could benefit from a location tag.
    – Neo
    Sep 22, 2018 at 14:10
  • 2
    Does someone know you have migraines as a result of work activities?
    – enderland
    Sep 23, 2018 at 12:36
  • @JoeStrazzere It's not clear what negative consequence the OP is looking to avoid. Are they asking if it would still be considered unprofessional or are they asking if this medical reason would count as an exception in a work contract?
    – BSMP
    Sep 26, 2018 at 8:35

3 Answers 3


Assuming you're US-based, you have almost definitely not signed a contract, which means yeah, you can quit at any time. Is it the most professional thing you could do? No. But you're doing fast-food grunt work. Here's the likely way you handle this:

  • Let them know you're quitting, politely. "This just isn't working out, the cleaning chemicals keep triggering my migranes." Don't be rude, and try to give them as much notice as you can--For instance, if you're scheduled to work monday, thursday, and friday, let them know after your shift Monday, or call in Tuesday, so they have a couple days to get backup.

  • Start looking for a new job, and don't list this one as experience on your application. They'd probably give a bad reference, and also just the "only worked 2 weeks" thing looks super bad. It's a short enough gap in your work experience that anybody looking at you application will just think you were unemployed and it won't be a big deal.


You can - after considering the professional and financial consequences and making sure you specify your reasons in writing - but I don't think you're at the point where that needs to happen. At least, not yet.

It's worth exploring with your manager (who may not be your immediate supervisor, but involve them too if that's the case) whether there would be any way you could continue to work there - even if just for the notice period. Some ideas might include duties that don't involve exposure to the product, or the employer switching to a different cleaning product. Document this discussion. Make a note of the brand name of the cleaning product - it's possible that others elsewhere may have experienced similar symptoms.

If there's no reasonable adjustment the employer can make, your health comes first. The employer is likely to understand this, and may suggest no notice period before you do, in which case you'll have left by mutual agreement.

If the employer appears not to understand, you'll have written evidence that you made every reasonable effort to fulfil your obligations.

Using the approach that you want to stay (even if just for the notice period) but that you can't is likely to give the best outcome.


To be honest I never heard of a 2 weeks notice in fast food. I worked at two fast food jobs in my youth and in each one I quit the following day. I never heard of a employee giving a 2 weeks notice while I was there either. Most people just up and left. It's a minimally paid job so most people don't care and they know it's a high turnover position.

Also, don't expect the manager to really care about your problems. The cleaning products are given to him by corporate suppliers and I don't think he has much choice. Now I recommend asking your manager if you could simply not do the cleaning work. That is if you like every other aspect of the job and explain to him that the cleaning product is too strong for your senses. If he disagrees, then simply quit right there and tell him you cannot work with that condition.

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