Ask the Lawyer: Can I let him go tomorrow?


QUESTION: An employee just gave notice that he is leaving the firm in three weeks. I can easily fill his position; can I let him go tomorrow?

ANSWER: Not a good idea! Letting an employee go before he or she has served out the time provided in a voluntary resignation may convert that quit into an involuntary discharge. What difference does this make? If the employee does not immediately find another job after leaving your employ, you could be on the hook for unemployment benefits. If the employee is out of work for weeks or months, you may have to pay your share of their benefits the entire time they are out of work.

Michigan’s Court of Appeals addressed this issue in Stephen’s Nu-Ad, Inc v Green, 168 Mich. App. 219 (1985). In that case, a drug store worker gave notice he intended to quit to take another job and was immediately fired. The Court ruled he was entitled to unemployment benefits. “The notice of an intention to permanently leave work in two weeks is not notice of an intention to permanently leave work immediately,” the Court stated. However, in that case, the court limited the benefits awarded in that case to two weeks – because the worker repeatedly stated he would never return to the former employer under any circumstances. A wise employer would not rely on this qualification.

Rulings in other jurisdictions don’t provide an employer any such wiggle room: Asking an employee to leave before he has served out his term of notice is the same as firing him, and will require the employer to pay unemployment benefits.

The lawyers at GWINN TAURIAINEN PLLC are experienced attorneys and are happy to answer your questions. Give us a call for a free initial telephone consultation about your legal needs. For consideration of your questions in our web column, please submit your inquiry on the “Contact Us” page of our website at

Information provided on “Ask the Lawyer” is current as of the date of publication. Laws and their interpretation are subject to change. The material provided through “Ask the Lawyer” is informational only; it should not be considered legal advice. Submitting a question to “Ask the Lawyer” does not create an attorney-client relationship between the person submitting the question and GWINN TAURIAINEN PLLC. To view previous columns, please visit our website.

GWINN TAURIAINEN PLLC, is a Troy based law firm representing clients from Warren, Sterling Heights, Ferndale, Royal Oak, Oak Park, Oakland and Wayne Counties and all of Southeast Michigan

By: Daniel A. Gwinn, Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
901 Wilshire Drive, Suite 550
Troy, MI 48084
(248) 247-3300
(248) 247-3310 facsimile
[email protected]