I read this question "Do I owe them a two week notice?" and the most popular answers with astonishment. It seems a lot of people consider it professionally necessary to give two weeks notice no matter how the employee was treated even in an at-will state.
What I (a European who has never worked in the US or any place with at-will employment laws) wonder is: If the employer expected to get two weeks notice, wouldn't they just put a clause into the contract requiring either party to give two weeks notice? So if this clause is missing in the contract I would think that the employer neither expectes nor requires two weeks notice and that abitcurious (in case of the question mentioned above) would be entirely justified in just handing in the resignation and leaving right away.
If it's professionally necessary to always give two weeks notice, why would any employer not put this clause into every work contract they send out?
But from the answers to that question it's obivous to me that I'm missing something - probably something about US work culture and/or law. What am I missing here? (Apologies if this is purely a law question - I had the impression that it's not.)
Update: It seems I've hit upon one of those culture issues where people from both sides of the Atlantic are incredulous that anybody would do things differently from them because "how's that supposed to work?" - and yet it does seem to work (on both sides of the Atlantic). Thanks a lot to everyone posting here for indulging my curiosity and taking the time to explain this.