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Can an executive quit without giving notice?

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2023 | Executive Employment

It is common for most employees to give two weeks’ notice before they quit. With executives, this could be even more important to the future of the business. A company owner may have given an executive a significant amount of power. It can also take a long time to replace an executive, compared to simply hiring another employee for a lower-level position.

As a result, many owners will want their executives to give notice before they quit. But are they obligated to do so?

The importance of using executive contracts

This conundrum is the reason that many executives sign employment contracts, while lower-level employees do not. An employee without a contract is considered to be an at-will employee. They are not obligated to give any notice before they quit. An employer can ask them to do so, but all they can do is make the request. The employee certainly does not have to honor it.

But an executive contract can stipulate that the person can only leave their position with so much advance notice. If the executive signed this contract, they are then bound to follow it in the future. They are no longer an at-will employee, and they could be in breach of their contract if they fail to give notice and simply leave their position. When they want to quit, they have to follow the steps that were set up in advance. 

This is only one area in which executive contracts are different from standard employment. It’s very important for all involved to understand how to set these up and the legal steps to take.