The Great Resignation—What Employees Should Know BEFORE They Call It Quits

We’ve all read the recent headlines--- job postings are up, unemployment is down, and employers can’t find workers fast enough. Enter what has been dubbed “The Great Resignation” where workers are leaving their jobs in search of better opportunities, higher pay, better working conditions, etc. While any of these may be a good reason to make a job change, there are some things to consider before you hand your boss that resignation letter.

  • Insurance and Unemployment

An employee who resigns may be eligible for continued insurance coverage through COBRA but is probably not eligible for Unemployment Compensation. In Ohio, as in most states, the Unemployment Compensation program is designed “to provide temporary and partial wage replacement to involuntarily unemployed workers who were recently employed.” In other words, an employee needs to have been employed for a certain number of weeks and be unemployed “through no fault of their own.” Generally, a worker is not considered “involuntarily unemployed” if the employee resigns, likely impacting the employee’s ability to collect unemployment.

  • Check that Non-Compete and/or Non-Solicitation Agreement You Signed

Now more than ever companies are routinely requiring their workers to sign non-competition and/or non-solicitation agreements as part of the hiring or employment renewal process. Non-compete agreements often limit the geographic area and/or industries in which a worker can be employed for a certain period after leaving the company. It is important to know if you have signed such an agreement what restrictions it imposes on future employment, especially if you are considering working for a competitor or a client of your current employer, or within a certain geographic range of your office or other offices where your company is located. The breach of a non-compete or non-solicitation agreement can lead to legal action and financial liability against a former employee.

Non-solicitation agreements are generally designed to limit or prohibit any contact between a former employee and the company’s clients, suppliers, or other designated individuals after an employee leaves the company. Like non-compete agreements, the breach of a non-solicitation agreement can lead to legal action and financial liability against a former employee.

If an employee has signed a non-compete or non-solicitation agreement, it’s a good idea to seek advice on what limits the contract imposes before an employee quits and takes another job.

  • Note the Notice Period

Many workers have heard the phrase “giving two weeks’ notice,” an informal standard for how much time an employee should give his or her employer between announcing their departure and their last day of work. While two weeks may be the commonly accepted “polite” period of notice, many employees have employment agreements that set specific timelines for how much notice is required and/or how it must be given. For employees in some jobs such as sales, failure to give proper notice or notice within a specified timeline could result in forfeiture of pay or other benefits. It may also be the case that the employment agreement requires an employee to stay employed with the company through a certain period of time, say through the end of the fiscal or calendar year, to get paid commissions or other compensation due. Leaving before the end of this period may result in loss of commissions or other compensation and benefits.

  • Social Media (Don’t Post Before You Start) And Your New Job

Posting about a new job before you have given notice to your current employer can cause all kinds of headaches. Especially if there are non-compete or non-solicitation issues involved. The last thing you want as you break it off with your current company and start that exciting new gig is to have a social media post cause an issue and your soon-to-be new employer revokes your dream job offer.

There are many reasons workers are looking to make a change in employment in this economy. While many workers are deciding to make a change for better pay or other factors that improve their work life, there can be some pitfalls if a worker fails to understand how a voluntary resignation impacts the pay and benefits they can receive after they call it quits. Before a worker resigns, it’s a good idea to make sure the employee understands the terms of any severance package offer made by the employer, and/or whether their resignation has a notice period or is impacted by other contractual limits such as a non-compete or non-solicitation agreement. Freking Myers & Reul's employment attorneys in Cincinnati, Ohio can help.