Q: Unable to provide two weeks notice.
I signed an offer letter with termination policy requiring two weeks of notice. Due to some unseen circumstances, I could only provide ten days of notice. I also offered to work on the weekends to help the situation. The employer now threatens me to cut a month's wages if I do not work during two week's notice period. There has been no mention of specific penalties in the offer letter. The client and I are based in California but, the middle layer employer is based out of Ohio. My questions is that if the offer letter is binding and if there are any legal options for me to take help of.
A: It would be a violation of California law to take any money out of your final paycheck because the employer claims you have breached a notice provision. If the company does so it would be wise to immediately contact an employment attorney. Not only should you get all of the money back, but you would also be entitled to Waiting Time Penalties equal to one day of pay for each day you are made to wait for that money, up to a total of 30 additional days of pay.
Whether the employer is owed any money because you gave four less days notice that required will depend entirely on what kind of damages, if any, the employer could prove were caused by those four days. It is highly unlikely any damages could be proved based on such a short period of time. I suspect you are experiencing emotional threats, not the prospect of an actual legal claim.
The worst thing that will likely happen is you will not get a good employer reference for leaving without giving the full two week notice. If you are in any way penalized or a lawsuit is filed, be sure to get an attorney involved right away.
Good luck to you.
A: One might think that having the employer steal your money to punish you would be the best thing that could happen because then you can get penalties such as 30 day's waiting time penalties and other penalties for violating the Labor Code. BUT, if the employer is in Ohio, collection could prove difficult. And the value of an additional month's wages is proportionate to the effort to get it into your pocket. Having said that, you need to do what you have to do, and if 10 day's notice is all you can do, that is it. This employer sounds like a big bully, and the Labor Commissioner will have your back in California, they don't stand for that kind of stuff. Keep all the written evidence in hard copy, emails, texts, etc. Consult with an employment attorney.
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