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Do I have to give notice again?
Old 02-20-2014, 05:53 PM   #1
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Do I have to give notice again?

I had an employment contract when I was part owner of our company. Terms included a 6 month notice to terminate the contract. I gave written notice to terminate the contract on 10-1-2012. When my 6 month notice expired on 4-1-2013, I agreed in a new written contract to work 960 hours before 4-1-2014.

The term of the new contract is written as "...considered to have begun on April 1, 2013 and shall continue for a period of 1 year or until otherwise terminated as hereinafter provided."

I don't want to give written notice again, because my last written notice was not accepted well by the owners last time. At that time, they felt that 6 months was not enough notice in order to complete a transition. Now the transition is complete.

I would prefer to continue to tell people that I'm only working until my contract expires on April 1, rather than give any written notice because of anticipated pushback from the bosses. Does this seem logical?
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:11 PM   #2
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Will you actually be working up until April 1, 2014? Or have you already put the 960 hours in? If you have fulfilled the contract I think no written notice is required, although being verbal to the bosses just to reinforce you are ending employment is not a bad idea. Their memory may not be so clear.....
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:14 PM   #3
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I'm sure one of our lawyers here will comment. I'm not a lawyer, but this wording seems to be quite explicit that it ends April 1, 2014 (unless otherwise terminated earlier). So, no written notice is needed.
That being said, if I were in your shoes I'd sleep better sending a "reminder" that pursuant to the contract you're done on April 1. I'd send that 2 weeks prior to April 1.
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:15 PM   #4
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I haven't finished the 960 hours. I still have 130 to go. But I frequently tell one of the owners (my replacement) that I'm not working after April 1. There are 2 other owners that I don't talk too much. I figure my replacement would relay the message.
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:18 PM   #5
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Does your contract have a sentence that goes something like this?

This contract will terminate on March 31, 2014 unless a renewal is agreed between the parties at least 90 days prior to that date.

If so, it is very clear what the default is and that you have no obligation to discuss it with them. If not, I still don't think you are obliged to formally give notice again, although I would probably mention it casually in a meeting, for example:

"We anticipate that this project will be 90% implemented by March 31, which is my last day on the contract".

It might also be appropriate to ask who your successor will be so you can brief him or her. If they don't get the message, they are not fit to run a business. If they try to get you to stay on, you will just have to be very firm.

Unfortunately I have had personal experience of working without a contract (when I still needed to work) and of having the conditions in a contract ignored by an employer. If you fulfill all your obligations, you are set. It is really important to be absolutely clear about whether the date is the deciding factor, or the hours. Words matter. I have learnt that having a lawyer look over contracts before signing them can be crucial in ensuring that you are protected.
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:21 PM   #6
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I'm sure one of our lawyers here will comment. I'm not a lawyer, but this wording seems to be quite explicit that it ends April 1, 2014 (unless otherwise terminated earlier). So, no written notice is needed.
That being said, if I were in your shoes I'd sleep better sending a "reminder" that pursuant to the contract you're done on April 1. I'd send that 2 weeks prior to April 1.
I may send an email - and 2 weeks prior sounds like a good time. I just want to create a disaster with another formal letter. Maybe the last letter was a disaster because it caught everyone off guard. This time there's a known termination date.

I told my replacement and one of the other owners that I would answer phone calls from them after April 1 for a while if they continue to pay my cell phone bill. And they seemed like they liked that idea.
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:47 PM   #7
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Does your contract have a sentence that goes something like this?

This contract will terminate on March 31, 2014 unless a renewal is agreed between the parties at least 90 days prior to that date.

If so, it is very clear what the default is and that you have no obligation to discuss it with them. If not, I still don't think you are obliged to formally give notice again, although I would probably mention it casually in a meeting, for example:

"We anticipate that this project will be 90% implemented by March 31, which is my last day on the contract".

It might also be appropriate to ask who your successor will be so you can brief him or her. If they don't get the message, they are not fit to run a business. If they try to get you to stay on, you will just have to be very firm.

Unfortunately I have had personal experience of working without a contract (when I still needed to work) and of having the conditions in a contract ignored by an employer. If you fulfill all your obligations, you are set. It is really important to be absolutely clear about whether the date is the deciding factor, or the hours. Words matter. I have learnt that having a lawyer look over contracts before signing them can be crucial in ensuring that you are protected.
It does have a sentence that says that it expires on April 1, and can be renewed for one year periods not to exceed 5 years. So it is clear when the end is.

I know my successor and have been working with him for the last 18 months. He comes to meetings with me, handles a lot of my phone calls, emails, all billings, etc. He and my assistant virtually handle everything.

So it can be said that the transition is essentially complete, but it's still questionable if they can handle workload without me even at only 20 hrs a week.

We had lawyers look over this contract, and its almost the same as my first one, so I don't anticipate a problem there.

The company bought my remaining stock, and I'll continue to receive monthly payments from them until Jan 1, 2015. Hopefully they won't try something shady with this, but one of the owners joked? that they would hold back payments if I quit before the end of the year. Hopefully that is just a scare tactic on their part to keep me until the end of the year.

I think I'll be good to go as long as I can be reached by phone or email for a while after April 1. I just have a gut feeling that if I give an other written notice, my remaining time will be miserable.
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Old 02-21-2014, 12:28 PM   #8
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So it can be said that the transition is essentially complete, but it's still questionable if they can handle workload without me even at only 20 hrs a week.
Ron, this is a business problem the owners need to resolve. You are under contract, you are not an indentured servant.

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The company bought my remaining stock, and I'll continue to receive monthly payments from them until Jan 1, 2015. Hopefully they won't try something shady with this, but one of the owners joked? that they would hold back payments if I quit before the end of the year. Hopefully that is just a scare tactic on their part to keep me until the end of the year.
You have two things going on here:
* remaining stock payments
* employment contract

Is one contingent on the other? I am assuming these payments are of significant value. I am also assuming this payment schedule is in a written contract.

If they really want you to stay until the end of the year, then renew the contract for a shorter term, AND, at a rate commensurate with your expected anguish.

Or, they need to buy you out as of April 1.

There is no negotiation here. They need to make it worth your while to stay on with them. You also need to help them cut the cord - sometimes money is the only vehicle that helps one to move on.

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Old 02-21-2014, 12:58 PM   #9
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Maybe I am oversimplifying this, but if you think a letter will create a disaster, do you believe that just walking away will be more acceptable?

I guess I come from a career of at-will employment and don't understand employment contracts and all the stuff that goes with them.
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Old 02-21-2014, 02:17 PM   #10
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My comment would be to see the contract that once you put in those 960, no additional hours were authorized and you can't work any more since no additional hours were agreed on by both parties. Again, IANAL
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Old 02-21-2014, 05:48 PM   #11
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Ron, this is a business problem the owners need to resolve. You are under contract, you are not an indentured servant.
True, those are almost the same words that DW used. I just have to get my mindset to that point.

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You have two things going on here:
* remaining stock payments
* employment contract

Is one contingent on the other? I am assuming these payments are of significant value. I am also assuming this payment schedule is in a written contract.

If they really want you to stay until the end of the year, then renew the contract for a shorter term, AND, at a rate commensurate with your expected anguish.

Or, they need to buy you out as of April 1.

There is no negotiation here. They need to make it worth your while to stay on with them. You also need to help them cut the cord - sometimes money is the only vehicle that helps one to move on.

-- Rita
Stock purchase agreement was a separate deal and neither of the two agreements are contingent on the other. I like your advice here - specifically "You also need to help them cut the cord" I hadn't thought of it that way
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Old 02-21-2014, 05:56 PM   #12
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Maybe I am oversimplifying this, but if you think a letter will create a disaster, do you believe that just walking away will be more acceptable?

I guess I come from a career of at-will employment and don't understand employment contracts and all the stuff that goes with them.
If I were to write a letter, I should probably write it to the 3 main owners that I wrote to last time, one of which had a problem with it. He may or may not have a problem with written notice now. But on the other hand, I'm on better terms with the other 2 owners, and I tell those 2 about once a week that I'm not coming in after April 1. So I'm not really walking away - I'm telling 2 of the owners weekly of my plans.
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:02 PM   #13
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My comment would be to see the contract that once you put in those 960, no additional hours were authorized and you can't work any more since no additional hours were agreed on by both parties. Again, IANAL
I know what you're saying and that may have been a better way to do it - cap it at 960 hrs. But it seems that term is set at one yr during which time I have to work a minimum of 960 hrs. So the contract term is one yr
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Old 02-22-2014, 05:29 AM   #14
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Certainly not a lawyer but isn't it key to determine what, if any, penalty is spelled out in the employment contract if you don't meet the two conditions. When April 1 arrives, if you haven't worked 960 hours, does that matter from the contract perspective? Doesn't seem like there is much anyone could do if the other issues for options/payments are covered under different contracts but it also doesn't mean they can't be jerks about following them though?
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Old 02-22-2014, 09:58 AM   #15
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Certainly not a lawyer but isn't it key to determine what, if any, penalty is spelled out in the employment contract if you don't meet the two conditions. When April 1 arrives, if you haven't worked 960 hours, does that matter from the contract perspective? Doesn't seem like there is much anyone could do if the other issues for options/payments are covered under different contracts but it also doesn't mean they can't be jerks about following them though?
Based on the contract language he quoted I would say he has to work 960 hours. It states that is a min requirement. Also states that he can't work more than 20 hours in a week. So based on that I think that he will need to work PAST April 1 to meet the contract requirements. Or is my math wrong--can you do 130 hours between now and April 1? 130/20 hours max = 6 1/2 weeks. Which seems to put you beyond the April 1 date doesn't it? That language seems pretty clear that you have to put in 960 hours minimum.
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Old 02-22-2014, 10:04 AM   #16
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Based on the contract language he quoted I would say he has to work 960 hours. It states that is a min requirement. Also states that he can't work more than 20 hours in a week. So based on that I think that he will need to work PAST April 1 to meet the contract requirements. Or is my math wrong--can you do 130 hours between now and April 1? 130/20 hours max = 6 1/2 weeks. Which seems to put you beyond the April 1 date doesn't it? That language seems pretty clear that you have to put in 960 hours minimum.
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Old 02-22-2014, 05:47 PM   #17
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Based on the contract language he quoted I would say he has to work 960 hours. It states that is a min requirement. Also states that he can't work more than 20 hours in a week. So based on that I think that he will need to work PAST April 1 to meet the contract requirements. Or is my math wrong--can you do 130 hours between now and April 1? 130/20 hours max = 6 1/2 weeks. Which seems to put you beyond the April 1 date doesn't it? That language seems pretty clear that you have to put in 960 hours minimum.
Yep I saw the same thing. I can't get to 960 hours by April 1 by working no more than 20 hrs per week. Kind of an oversight when we put this thing together. But I agree - I have to do the 960 hours. I have done more than 20 hrs in a single week once or twice before to meet deadlines, so I don't think the boss will have a problem if put in a few over 20 for a few weeks.
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