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  • Notice period New York

    I have submitted a 2-week notice at my company. However, after talking to HR my boss told me that I am required to provide a 1 month notice. I reviewed the offer letter I had signed and it does state that both the company and I are required to give each other a 30-day notice. It does specify what the company is required to do if they want to shorten that period, but does not say what I must do.

    My new employer is adamant about me starting as soon as possible and may pull the offer if they have to wait a month.

    I think I can resolve this with my supervisor. However, I'd like to know what the worst case scenario is. HR is telling me they can send a letter to my new employer precluding me from starting there before my notice period is over. Is that true?

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    If you are working on a contract, the company could hold you to the 30 day notice.

    If you are "at will," they cannot keep you from leaving, but there may be other things they could do, such as giving you a bad reference (failure to give adequate notice, for instance).

    A two-week notice may be adequate time for the employer to find a replacement. It may not be adequate. It depends upon the job.

    However, absent a contract, a two-week notice is standard and you should be lauded for giving it. All too often, folks just walk off the job, leaving the employer hanging. That is often countered with employers depriving employees of earned benefits, such as accrued vacation time. Okay, I am off my soap box now.
    Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.

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    • #3
      Based on how you presented your case, it appears you may be employed under an employment contract. If this is true, I suggest having a lawyer review your contract. If the contract is indeed enforceable, you could be held liable if the terms are broken.

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      • #4
        Here's what it says

        Here's what a portion of my offer letter states:

        "There will be no set term of employment, and your employment will be at will, subject to the terms and conditions of this letter. Subject to the other provisions of this section you or [Company] may terminate your employment at any time for any reason or no reason by giving not less than one month's prior written notice of termination.

        In the even of termination other than for Cause by [Company], [Company] may elect to place you on paid leave for all or any part of the notice period. In the case of resignation by you, your notice period may be shortened at the election of [Company] without any pay due past your last day of employment."

        Then it goes into what happens if I get terminated for Cause.

        I can't see from this what legal recourse can they possibly have other than maybe withholding payment for my unused vacation, which will be disappointing but won't break my heart.

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        • #5
          Based on what you've posted, it sounds that your employment is "at will". Typically offer letters do not hold the test of an enforceable employment contract. If the employee is indeed "at will", you hold no legal obligation to provide notice at all. It would be in your best interest to honor whatever policy is in place. As ScottB mentioned, you could receive a negative employment reference for not complying with the request. It may not be a bad idea to have a lawyer read through your letter to confirm the "at will" status.

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          • #6
            I agree with Robb71. The agreement does say "at will" and there is no recourse in the agreement if you don't give the requested 30-day notice, and no advantage to you if you do. Again, though, a quick review by an attorney would probably be in order.

            What does the employer say will occur if you don't give 30 days?
            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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            • #7
              Letter to new employer

              HR told me that they can send a cease and desist letter to my employer preventing me from starting my new job.

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              • #8
                You really should have a lawyer review your agreement.

                It's unclear if your employment is "at will" or via employment contract. A lawyer should be able to help you clear up any confusion you may have. If you are employed under a binding contract, then it's very possible that an injuction could be issued.

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                • #9
                  Employment Contract

                  http://research.lawyers.com/New-York...-New-York.html


                  If you have a signed document agreeing that you would give notice, then yes, you must give thirty days notice.

                  It does not matter if it is an agreement or a contract. However, the good news is, if your old employer should send any form or letter to your new employer, which would keep you from being gainfully employed, you could have a lawsuit.

                  No employer is allowed to interfere with the gainful employement of any employee past present or future.

                  This is why large corporations do NOT give references, they will only verify that a person was employed there. You can ask human resources/personnel department "was so and so employed by your firm between the dates of 00/00/00 and 00/00/00, and they could answer yes or no. They can not offer any "un"asked info.

                  You should contact your local legal aid society and ask the question. They can determine if you do indeed need a lawyer.

                  The surprising thing is most companies do not even give notice anymore, as they fear sabotage by ex-employees. I have known firms to walk people to the door, stating they are no longer employed at the firm, and give severance pay.

                  Best case scenario, talk to your boss, and ask him pollitely to let you go, give your notice in writing, and do not let them know where you are going.
                  Last edited by DKRIESE; 03-14-2007, 09:46 AM.

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                  • #10
                    On the contrary it matters a great deal whether it is a contract or not. Absent a contract, indentured servitude ended long ago and employees can not be forced to work.

                    It is questionable that they could send a letter to the new employer (if they even know who it is) to state that the employee did not give proper notice. It is unlikely the new employer will care. If they did there is a chance it could be seen as tortious interference. Providing a truthful reference is not tortious interference. In every state the employer may share any information with a reference checker that is true or believed to be true, even if negative.
                    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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                    • #11
                      Although it is true that many large employers will only offer dates of employment, no law in any state (despite a widespread and mistaken belief to the contrary) limits employers to only that information. They may legally provide any information that is true, that they have an honest and good faith belief is true, or that represents their honest and supportable opinion.
                      The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DKRIESE View Post
                        This is why large corporations do NOT give references, they will only verify that a person was employed there. You can ask human resources/personnel department "was so and so employed by your firm between the dates of 00/00/00 and 00/00/00, and they could answer yes or no. They can not offer any "un"asked info.
                        Show me a law prohibiting me from disclosing more than that.
                        Last edited by ScottB; 03-14-2007, 02:58 PM.
                        Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.

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                        • #13
                          It was a contract

                          Thanks to everyone for their advice.

                          I did consult an attorney specializing in labor law. She was a bit surprised by the clause, but ultimately deemed it valid and most likely enforceable. The big question is whether they would choose to enforce it. My attorney's prognosis was that while a lawsuit was unlikely, they could potentially claim damages in millions of dollars. The reason for a suit could be their desire to demonstrate that they take their employment agreements seriously.

                          I also talked to some executive recruiters in town who told me that while they've never heard of my company enforcing an agreement like that, some other investment banks have.

                          Either way, I was able to negotiate an early departure with my employer without getting caught up in litigation. I guess the lesson here should be that employment agreements need to be read very carefully and preferably with an attorney.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MrNewYork View Post
                            Either way, I was able to negotiate an early departure with my employer without getting caught up in litigation. I guess the lesson here should be that employment agreements need to be read very carefully and preferably with an attorney.
                            Glad you were able to work it out and I think you've described the lesson perfectly.
                            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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