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Separation From Employment: Federal

Separation From Employment requirements by state

Original Authors: Rebecca Sipowicz and Darrell R. VanDeusen, Kollman & Saucier, PA, Michael Barnsback

Updating Author: Brightmine Editorial Team


  • Most employment relationships are at-will, meaning that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, or for no reason, but exceptions apply. See Employment At-Will.
  • An employment contract may change the nature of an at-will relationship to require just cause for a termination. See Termination for Cause.
  • Offering a severance package to terminating employees can help promote goodwill and reduce potential legal liability. See Severance Packages.
  • A release of legal claims must meet certain standards to be enforceable. There are special considerations when seeking a release from employees 40 or older. See Separation and Release Agreements.
  • Restrictive covenants, such as a noncompete agreement, may be used to protect the employer's business interests following a separation of employment. See Restrictive Covenants.
  • An employer must comply with requirements governing the final payment of wages, unemployment eligibility and health care continuation obligations upon an employee's termination. See Final Pay and Benefits.
  • A policy requiring advance notice of resignation may be difficult to enforce. See Notice of Resignation.
  • An employee who resigns may be able to claim constructive discharge if they can show that the working conditions were so intolerable that a reasonable person in their position would not have been able to continue. See Constructive Discharge.