Can an employer not pay a salaried employee their last 2 weeks when given over 2 weeks notice?

Andrew asked 1 month ago
Lengthy, but here goes.....

I had 3 doctors tell me my work conditions were the cause of my digestive tract shutting down. After many many tests, I was put on leave. After literally 1 week, I was starting to feel better. I was told to stay off for 4 months. As the 4th month came near end, my symptoms came back. My Dr's all told me you need to quit or the place will kill you. I had a pharmacy of pills I was on to control my issues. I started looking for jobs at that point. I was still on leave, they put me on a 1 month extension.

I found a job and gave them about 2.5 weeks notice. They decided not to pay my last 2 weeks, as stating my benefits were not eligible as I had resigned. But during that 2 weeks that they say I wasn't eligible due to me resigning, my insurance was still active and worked for 2 other doctor appointments. Can they do that? I am still an employee, till the last day on my resignation letter. Not only that, but I was on disability, which was reviewed by the company doctor and approved as well for that whole time. I was employed there for a month shy of 15 years. I need to know if I should pursue my 2 weeks pay I feel I am owed. Money is kind of tight and that would really help pay bills as I was counting on it.
1 Answer
Jean Staff replied 1 month ago
Hi Andrew,

I want to start out by saying that Workest and Zenefits employees do not provide legal advice. While we strive to provide useful general information applicable to the majority of our community, we do not — and cannot — provide legal advice specific to your company and your situation. If you have specific legal questions or concerns, we encourage you to discuss them with your legal advisor.

However, I do want to review some basics of what is allowed under at-will employment.

Under at-will employment, an employer and an employee can terminate employment at any time and for any reason as long as it’s not an illegal reason. The only thing that could prevent an employer from ending the employment relationship is if there is a contract in place that guarantees employment for a duration of time.

When it comes to giving notice, this is typically seen as a courtesy and employers will either allow the employee to work for those two weeks or they will pay the employee for that time, but not allow them to work. However, employers can decide that instead of allowing you to resign with two-week’s notice, they will terminate your employment on the day you gave notice. The employer will also not be required to pay you for those two weeks just as long as you did not perform any work for them during that time.

Please note that when a company does not honor the two-week period and instead moves to terminate, this could potentially make the employee eligible for unemployment insurance for either those two weeks or a longer period of time. With that in mind, you may want to apply for this benefit in your state to see if you are eligible.

When it comes to your health insurance, you will want to review your insurance’s termination policy. Some policies state that if an employee is terminated during the month, the last day of coverage will be the end of the month. Meaning, if you were terminated on Dec 1st, you would still be covered by insurance through Dec 31st. This may be why your insurance is still active; however, I would check with your company to have them confirm the termination policy.

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