Athens, TN asked in Employment Law for Tennessee

Q: What are my options for breaking a 90day contract clause and leaving early from a 3 year contract.

I have to give a 90 day notice of quitting, but my new job says they need me to start 3/1/22 and that’s a hard line. I wouldn’t be out of this current job until mid April if I give the full 90 days. There is someone who could take over for my position, but it means the main boss wouldn’t get his extra days off in a week and may have to come work more to make up for the loss. What are my options. They are hard pressed to make me work the full 90 days, but I need out in 37 days.

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Jordan T. Newport
Jordan T. Newport
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: Tennessee is an at-will state. This means that employees are allowed to leave their employment at any time without a reason, or in other words, this means that there are no federal or state laws that require an employee to give notice to his or her employer before quitting, subject to a few exceptions.

One of those exceptions are if an employee has signed an employment contract (which is sounds like you have based on the title of this question). Specifically, an employment contract may include procedures for terminating your employment contract. This means that if you signed a contract stating that you will provide 90 day notice before quitting, you (the employee) has a binding legal obligation to give the notice or be in breach of the contract. Your contract may state what the penalty is (sometimes called liquidated damages) for violating the clause. Furthermore, you may be held liable for the costs accrued by the company for having to find your replacement during the period covered under your contract.

Generally, Tennessee courts will uphold employment contracts. If you did sign a contract, your best bet is to approach your company and ask that the waive the notice provision and/or will sign a supplement/addendum. If they don't agree and you leave early, you may be on the hook for various liabilities/costs.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.