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What constitutes a valid resignation by law in Alberta?

What constitutes a valid resignation by law in Alberta?

To protect employees’ rights, Alberta law obligates employers to meet certain requirements when terminating an employee. But there is legal mutuality in Alberta employment law. To protect employers’ rights, an employee must meet certain requirements when resigning.

This article explores what Alberta law has to say about employment resignation, including

  • What constitutes a valid resignation?
  • Is an immediate resignation valid?
  • What happens if I don’t provide enough notice of resignation?
  • Can an employer force an employee to resign?

If you’re considering resigning from your job, it’s important to understand your legal obligations.

Is my resignation valid?

Calgary Employment Lawyers - What constitutes a valid resignation by law in Alberta?
Calgary Employment Lawyers – What constitutes a valid resignation by law in Alberta?

Your resignation is valid in Alberta if it meets two key requirements:

  1. It is a written resignation.
  2. You provided reasonable notice.

Common law requires an employee to provide “reasonable notice” of resignation. A reasonable notice period is based on several factors, including the length of your employment, your position, your pay, and how long it may take your employer to replace you. It’s in everyone’s best interest to negotiate a fair resignation notice period with your employer.

Your employment contract may state the amount of notice required for resignation. If not, Alberta’s Employment Standards Code says that an employee must give the employer a minimum written resignation notice of at least 1 week, but at least 2 weeks if the employee has been working there for 2 years or more.

There are some exceptions to these Code requirements. If any of the following applies, the minimum resignation notice period does not have to be met.

  • There is an established practice in the industry to give less resignation notice.
  • The employee is resigning for personal health and safety reasons.
  • The job has become impossible for the employee to perform because of reasons beyond their control.
  • The employee has been employed for less than 91 days.
  • The employee is temporarily laid off or doesn’t have work due to a strike or lockout.
  • The employee is resigning because the employer has denied them their legal rights.

If you resign but continue to work for your employer beyond your resignation date, even your written resignation has no effect.

Is an immediate resignation valid?

Sometimes an employee resigns in the heat of the moment. “I quit!” Is this still valid? Not necessarily.

A legal resignation must be voluntary, but if you quit under highly stressful circumstances or in a severely emotional state, the courts may not consider it voluntary. In this kind of scenario, your employer is under legal obligation to allow you time to calm down and return to work before accepting your resignation.

What happens if I don’t provide enough notice of resignation?

If you don’t provide enough notice of resignation, it is a wrongful resignation and you may be liable for damages. If you resign wrongfully, you are required to take reasonable steps to lessen the damages to your employer.

Can an employer force an employee to resign?

No. If your resignation is involuntary, it is actually a termination without cause or wrongful dismissal, which entitles you to termination pay and possibly severance pay. A resignation must be voluntary. It must be clear that you intended to resign.


  • Are you considering resigning from your job?
  • Has your employer accused you of wrongful resignation?
  • Did you quit your job in a volatile and highly emotional situation?
  • Is your employer refusing to accept your resignation?
  • Were you forced to resign?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, consult with an employment resignation lawyer. The employment lawyers at Osuji & Smith in Calgary can review your employment contract and advise you on how to resign legally. We can assess your situation and work to ensure your rights are protected.

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