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60 Days Notice to Quit? California

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  • 60 Days Notice to Quit? California


    I am a regular salaried employee. They had me sign a "contract" before I started. I didn't notice this before hand, but I am noticing this now and it states:

    "Either you or K***** may terminate your employment at any time by giving written notice during probation period (THREE months) and two months in advance after that. The corporation will be entitled to pay in lieu of your working out all or part of the required period notice after probation period."

    Then it goes on saying that I can be fired immediately for cause and names some instances (theft, etc.).

    So the way this is written out is I would have to work 60 days from giving my notice before I can move on? Is that correct? Is that legal?

    If I were to have another job option and I had to leave in like say three weeks, can the company not pay me for not fulfilling the contract requirements? I do get paid monthly, so if they decided to stick it to me, it would be for a full month's worth of salary.

    I work for a foreign company. All employees here are foreign employees that are stationed from Korea. I am the only American employee. I work in their office from the hours of 9 am until 7 - 8 PM and only get paid $36,000 a year salary. I don't know if that makes a difference or not.

    I am in California by the way.

    Oh lastly if somebody could please explain what "The corporation will be entitled to pay in lieu of your working out all or part of the required period notice after probation period" means.
    Last edited by dstrauser83; 10-15-2012, 12:30 PM.

  • #2
    I am going to give you several answers, all correct.
    - The only way to get a good answer requarding a contract is to take to a local attorney who will have to read the ENTIRE contract. Taking a few sentences out of the entire document to review by themselves is legally meaningless.
    - In general, retroactive recovery of wages already paid is legally problematic, ESPECIALLY in CA. Something requiring a lot of notice prior to termination is not always iilegal but is always legally problematic, especially in CA. Please note that I said "legally problematic", which is not the same thing as impossible. A very good CA attorney might be able to right something that accomplishes this, but the only way to tell for sure is to have a local attorney review the entire document. CA has a bunch of labor law which would make the wording of such a contract quite interesting. Generally speaking, contract law NEVER overrides labor law, so the contract would have to be very carefully worded to not touch any of CA's many labor law third rails.
    - There is a type of contract called "scarecrows". Which is pretty much what it sounds like. Something not legally enforcable designed to scare one of the parties into compliance. This may be one of those. Or not. Only a local attorney who has actually read the entire document can say for sure.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


    • #3
      I appreciate your response. Truth be told the entire contract is normal. The rest of the contract only states hours, and duties, vacation and benefits. Nothing out of the ordinary.

      The only section that discusses termination is what I had typed word for word in my post.

      So with requiring such a large lead time prior to termination, is that legal? Is it enforceable? I'm not doing it for unemployment or anything like that, but I would possibly be looking to move onto a new corporation and want to make sure I get paid for my labor when I leave my current company.

      Thank you.


      • #4
        Your one sentence all by itself is meaningless. It says the corporation is entitled to pay but it does not say how much pay. It does not say anything of things that such a provision should say to be legally meaningful. You say nothing else in the contract is meaningful. Your decision. I am going to repeat my answer, which is legally correct. You need to take the document to a local attorney who will need to actually read the entire document. I understand that is not the answer you are shopping for. I understand that you want someone to give you an answer based on what you have said, even though it is not legally possible to do so. This is as far as I can take this.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


        • #5
          Again, I have read the whole contract, there is no other stipulations, the amount of my pay is $36,000.

          I cannot afford an attorney, hence why I am seeking legal advice on a forum.

          Perhaps you may have no idea, but maybe somebody else might, I do however, thank you for your ambition and your attempt to answer me.

          If you want here is the link to the contract for your viewing pleasure (You will find the termination clause at the end of the 2nd page):
          Page 1:
          Page 2:
          Page 3:


          • #6
            The sentence you posted is ambiguous. " The corporation will be entitled to pay in lieu of your working out all or part of the required period notice after probation period." It could be read to mean that they might pay YOU to NOT continue working there for the full 60 days. I think this because many companies don't want you to work there once you no longer have loyalty towards them, and you'll find post after post here about people giving notice to quit and the employer letting them go on the spot. Ambiguous terms are generally unenforceable if reasonable people could find different meanings, but contract law is very state specific, so you do need to run it by an attorney. Or you can give your 60 day notice, not mention anything about a new job, and see what they do. They can't prevent you from working at the other company, unless there is a non-compete involved, and I really don't know if they could collect if they sued you, since the clause IS ambiguous, and normally employment is 'at will' meaning either party can end it without notice.
            I am not an attorney, and don't play one on TV. Any information given is a description only and should be verified by your attorney.


            • #7
              Ms. Alice Dodd, thank you very much. That was the type of explanation I was seeking and you made a lot of sense. Obviously if something were to happen I would seek the advice of a lawyer, but I am just looking for a general layman's meaning of the law vs. my "contract".

              You have been much help.


              • #8
                And of course, if there is other language in the contract that modifies the single sentence you have pulled out of context, then everything that's been said goes back to zero. Which is why ONLY AN ATTORNEY WHO HAS READ THE ENTIRE CONTRACT CAN GIVE YOU AN ACCURATE INTERPRETATION.
                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.


                • #9
                  You said you can't afford an attorney. You really should have the contract read by an attorney. You might be able to get a referral to a low cost (possibly no cost) attorney from your local or state bar assoc., local legal aid society or local law school if there is one in your area.
                  Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                  Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.


                  • #10
                    It is in your best interest not to remove the links.

                    While you think only those phrases are what determines a contract, that is not the case. What makes or breaks a contract is the entirety of the document. The level of specificity in regard to other aspects of the document can also be telling. Also, what is legally binding in one jurisdiction is not so in another. Different states and even different municipalities have unique laws governing contracts. In some places, a contract need not even be in writing to be enforceable. You really need a lawyer who practices contract law in your area to look it over. Law schools and legal aid clinics are a good place to start.

                    What we think it means and what we think is enforceable, doesn't matter one whit.
                    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.


                    • #11
                      First of all, I would strongly recommend that you remove the links to your contract. Posting your personal identifying information on the internet is a terrible idea.

                      Second, nothing you get on a forum, even from a lawyer, is going to be legal advice, and certainly nothing that you should rely on. I think you could get a knowledgeable California attorney to look at your agreement and give you some advice based on California law for a lot less than you might imagine, probably a couple of hundred dollars.

                      Third, I have no knowledge of California employment law (which in many instances is unique in the U.S.) but I think it is highly improbable that your employer could force you to work for 60 days (that is called "specific performance"). What is less certain is whether the employer could recover its economic damages from your breach of the notice provision. For example, if the company could have hired and trained a replacement during the 60 day period but instead found it necessary to outsource the position for a short time at an hourly rate that cost it $5,000 more than it would have paid you, they might seek to hold you liable for damages. Whether that is possible in California, I can't say. It is probably unlikely to occur even if it is legally plausible but at least there is a theoretical risk.

                      Fourth, I don't see much ambiguity that Alice sees in the sentence "The corporation will be entitled to pay in lieu of your working out all or part of the required period notice after probation period." To me, it clearly says that instead of having you show up in the office for 60 days after they give you notice, your employer could pay you and tell you to stay home. That is pretty common. However, the language is not limited to instances where the employer is the one who gives the notice. It appears that if you gave 60 days of your plans to leave, the company would also have to pay you for 60 days if it told you to leave sooner.

                      Again, the only way to get real advice on your contract is to sit down with a California attorney. If you are just asking the questions of out curiosity now, I can understand your reluctance to pay for a legal review, but if you are contemplating a job switch that may being the notice provision into play, do yourself a favor and talk to a lawyer.
                      David K. Staub (
                      Forum posts are not legal advice, are for informational and educational purposes only, and are not a substitute for proper consultation with legal counsel.


                      The forum is intended for informational use only and should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for legal advice. The information contained on are opinions and suggestions of members and is not a representation of the opinions of does not warrant or vouch for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any postings or the qualifications of any person responding. Please consult a legal expert or seek the services of an attorney in your area for more accuracy on your specific situation.