I've been working for a company for a year and a half and am pretty good at what I do. I have been consistently been told I am going above and beyond expectations and have been a huge part in turning around one of the stores and making it profitable when the previous years weren't.

A competitor company offered me a job when they were new to town with the same job title, but for about the same money. I politely refused and informed my employer. Almost a year later, the competitor company came after me again for a position I didn't apply for. I received a letter of offer, and as the offer was for a higher job title then the one I currently had, and was significantly more money, I went to my employer and told him about it.

I told him I would prefer to stay with the company I was familiar with, but I needed the money and asked him if there was any way they could give me the same job title and anything even close to the money. They refused and I was forced to give my two weeks notice, of which I was not allowed to work due to it being a conflict of interest.

I was under the impression that when this sort of thing happens, the company you are employed by is required to pay you for your two weeks since it is them refusing to allow you to work, but my boss told me I wouldn't be getting paid for the last two weeks.

My question is: if they are required to pay me out or not, and if they are, what should I do about it?

  • 9
    Add a country tag since the laws differ per country.
    – Fredrik
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 11:45
  • 3
    Just to be clear, no one forced you to do anything. You chose to take the better offer, unless there is something going on you aren't telling us about.
    – mikeazo
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 11:54
  • 10
    YOur best bet is to call your new company and move up your start date.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 12:45
  • 2
    I don't know what is legally involved, but haven't you been fired? I've been at financial firms who continue to pay those to give notice for two weeks, but they don't allow them in the office for security reasons.
    – user8365
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 13:24
  • 2
    @EdHeal have you heard of the edit button? You are far more familiar with how Stack Exchange works than a new user - there is no reason to make comments like that when it takes barely as long to make an edit as it does to criticize the poster.
    – enderland
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 13:31

5 Answers 5


To answer this (I'm assuming you are in the US) we would have to know the location and have access to your employment contract, employee handbook etc. The reason is, the laws vary by state and company policy.

Most likely, however, they do not have to pay you and can terminate you upon resignation notice. Here is an article you should find very helpful, including links to important resources. Below is some relevant information from the article (emphasis added).

For example, if an employee gives two weeks notice of resignation, but the employer terminates the employee's employment on the same day that the employee gave notice, then the employer typically will not owe the resigning employee for the two-week notice period.

It's not unusual or generally unlawful for employers to send employees packing on the same day that they hand over their letters of resignation. It's to help prevent watercooler rumors, theft and last-minute retaliation. Some employers voluntarily issue resignation notice pay anyway, some don't. Only a few states require employers to pay through the advanced notice period if they send employees packing before it expires, but only if the employers require employees to give advanced notice of resignation in the first place.

Resigning employees are, however, entitled to any pay they've already earned, including commissions and accrued vacation pay if appropriate. Under the laws for most states, final paychecks for resigning employees are due on their last day of work or shortly thereafter.

If you happen to live in a state that would require this, you can hire a lawyer to draft up a letter informing the employer of their legal obligations. That would be the first (and most cost effective) step to take. If they refuse, at that point you would have to take them to court.


If you are in the UK, your employer is required by law to pay you your notice period. Obviously, if you decide not to work for them the time of the notice period, you won't be paid and probably end up being sued.

If they terminate with you immidiately then they are still required to pay you the full duration of the notice period (it's called Garden Leave):


The Garden Leave is usually well explained in your contract - in case it is not mentioned, I can't say if your employer can effectively terminate with you immidiately in the first place, but would guess so.

As the notice period in the UK usually range from one to three months, I must say your two weeks notice are quite surprisingly short!

  • given that the user specifically called out 2 weeks I would guess the US since that is the "standard" here. Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 12:54
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    The two weeks notice can work well, if you're leaving a job, allowing you to move on quickly... but the "Employment at will" is an alien concept to most Europeans. Things such as, for example, handing in 2 weeks notice and being immediately fired, do seem unfair.
    – Jon Story
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 13:16
  • Gardening leave is not generally considered a termination of contract. You're still bound by all the contract terms, but the employer waives the expectation that you actually do work. 2 weeks' notice would not be out of the ordinary in the UK for an employee with only eighteen months' service. Many employers see the benefits to having longer notice periods (handover, recruitment, etc.), but others offer little more than statutory minima, which are roughly one week per year up to 3 months.
    – user52889
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 20:40
  • "Gardening leave" means you are still officially employed, but your employer neither requires nor allows that you come to work. Your job can be terminated immediately and the company would have to pay "payment in lieu of notice"; you get the same money, but you can start a job elsewhere immediately.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 21:39

Unless you have a contract, your employer does not have to "allow you to work". If they are "not paying" consider yourself fired as of right now. Sometimes if an employee "gives notice", the company will simply fire them. That is what has happened to you.


In short, it depends on your contract and the laws governing your jurisdiction (which is not specified as of when this answer is posted). However, it is possible that they are not required to pay you for the two weeks, especially if they have the right to immediately terminate your employment at any time.

It's common for employers to require employees to give them two weeks' notice so the employer isn't suddenly and surprisingly short-staffed when they have time-sensitive obligations to fulfill. The employer doesn't have to use this 'benefit' if they don't want to; here it appears they don't. You, apparently, had the option of continuing to work at the first firm indefinitely but gave that up voluntarily because you apparently don't want that benefit of continuing the employment.

Call the second firm and ask about moving up your start date; you might be able to get started earning at the higher salary sooner.

  • In the US, it is custom/polite to give your current employer a few weeks' notice and work with them to transfer what you're currently working on to someone else. However, once you give notice they are generally free to say "thanks for the offer but we'd rather you leave now", and if they do so you are no longer working for them and can't expect them to continue paying you.
    – keshlam
    Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 2:03
  • @JoeStrazzere Such requirements would be from the contract or policies of the employer, not the locale.
    – WBT
    Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 3:27
  • 1
    if you give notice and serve your 2 weeks then your employer could challenge an unemployment claim - they have work for you. OTOH if you give notice and are fired you are entitled to unemployment.
    – emory
    Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 17:35
  • @JoeStrazzere Laws can interact with contracts in strange ways, and given that the question could be anywhere, I don't want to pretend like that can't be a factor. You're welcome to add another answer if you think otherwise; that'll be distinct.
    – WBT
    Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 2:40

As others have noted, your legal rights here depend on the contract that you signed, if any, and the laws of the place where you live.

If the new company that you are going to really is a conflict of interest, and you signed a "no compete" contract saying you would not take a job with a competing company for some period of time, then you are in breach of contract, and losing two weeks pay may be getting off lightly. I'd check into any no-compete promises you may have made before threatening lawsuits, etc.

Otherwise, I'd consider how much it's worth fighting about. It's too late to threaten to quit over it. Your only recourse is to sue them in civil court or perhaps if they're violating labor laws you could get some appropriate government agency to take action. I don't know how much you get paid in two weeks, but if you have to go to court, what would it cost to get a lawyer? You might want to check with a lawyer to see what they say about your chances on such a case -- around here such an initial consultation with a lawyer costs somewhere between zero and maybe a hundred bucks.

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