Author Topic: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice  (Read 2531 times)

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Offline pigtwo

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Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« on: May 11, 2018, 07:33:05 pm »
Hello all,

I'm in little bit of a tricky situation so I'm looking for some thoughts or opinions about the situation.

The background is I graduated from Uni, got my first job for a small company doing basic EE work and PCB design.  After two years our company got acquired by another EU based company.  At this time we were given new contracts for that company in which there was a stipulation that we must give 3 months of notice before quitting.  People made some complaints and were told by the VP "Either sign the contract or you don't have a job".  I was actually on vacation at the time and signed it as I felt I didn't have a much better option.

It's been a year since then and I'm looking for a new job.  I've spent about a month doing some exploratory job applications and there is a fair number of jobs I'd be interested in.  Fewer that I'm very interested in.  I heard back from a couple.  Both of which said three months was too long of a wait.

I see two options here:
1. Look for another job while continuing to work at my current job.  If I find a job that I want and can't wait 3 months I would just give as much notice as I can. 
2. Demand to renegotiate my contract and remove the 3 month notice stipulation.  If they refuse I can either go with plan 1 from there or give my resignation right then, give the three months and try to find another job.

Misc info:
I have more than a years worth of living expenses saved so that's not a big issue.

The company that made the contract is German and I heard this is standard in Germany because of how difficult it can be to remove employees. 

I'm leaning towards plan 1.  There is no exit condition on the contract and thus they would have to sue for damages which I doubt you could find.  Also, the conglomerate that owns the German company has one US based lawyer and he does business ethics based stuff.  So it seems they would have to hire a lawyer. 

I live in the US.

Has anyone else had a situation similar to this?  Is it reasonable to find a job that will wait 3 months for an employee?  Does leaving a job over this look bad to potential employers?  Does not having a job look bad to potential employers?

I appreciate advice, thoughts or similar experiences. 

Edit: I should also mention, the vice president of engineering(my current boss) of the US based office has verbally stated that he thinks the notice is stupid and wouldn't peruse anything. 

Thank you!
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 07:37:07 pm by pigtwo »
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2018, 07:47:55 pm »
Your last line already says it: you can always ask to leave earlier and try to work something out.
I've had similar contracts and when changing jobs some new employers just had to wait. One didn't like it because they kinda expected me to breach my contract (which I didn't -a deal is a deal-) even though I told them I would be available at a certain date.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
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Offline sokoloff

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2018, 08:13:44 pm »
Edit: I should also mention, the vice president of engineering(my current boss) of the US based office has verbally stated that he thinks the notice is stupid and wouldn't [pursue] anything.
This is a key point for me. What you and your boss agree to, even informally [provided he's willing to grimace for the company HR and then do nothing], is fine.

If he thinks 4 weeks' or 6 weeks' notice is enough, give them that.

In terms of your other questions, we hire in some EU countries with these crazy-long notice periods. It's aggravating, but if the whole country does it, you just live with it. On the other end (our employees leaving in these countries), we are always quite lax about it. Let's face it, if an engineer doesn't want to be here, are we really going to get top-work out of them for 13 more weeks? Hell no. Come up with a reasonable transition plan and timeline, and we sign off on it and wish them well.
 
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Offline JohnnyMalaria

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2018, 08:19:47 pm »
Edit: I should also mention, the vice president of engineering(my current boss) of the US based officeThank you!

Are you employed by the US office - i.e., is that where your paychecks come from? If so, you might want to look into your state's employment laws. Some states are hire-and-fire. They can fire you whenever they want and you can leave whenever you want with no notice required. Other states are union states and things are quite different. I live in NC and worked for a large drug company for 20 years in NC and 5 years in the UK before that. I never signed any contract of any sort when I moved to NC at started with the US company.
Tell me it can't be done and I'll do it. Or give it a damned good try.
 
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Offline pigtwo

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2018, 08:43:38 pm »
@nctnico I've probably thought about this way too much.  My reasoning for not going with number 2 is that if they refuse to renegotiate I'm sort of forced to resign.  Which leads to possibly not having a job.  Now I haven't talked to many companies so maybe my samples have been biased but both companies said that they wouldn't wait 3 months and would rather select a different candidate.  I only have 3 years of experience and I'm looking to pivot a little in my specialty so I'm worried that this would cause me to not be acceptable. 

I guess resigning isn't so bad.  I'd likely find another job before the end of the three months.  But it's something I worry about a little bit.

@sokoloff That's basically how I feel.  If my direct manager doesn't care, it seems like it shouldn't go any farther. 

As a side question to anyone, what is the average amount of time between accepting a new job and your start date.  One company I talked to said they would want me in two weeks after signing which seems crazy to me.  Note this would be for a job about 8 hours away so a change in location would be necessary. 

@JohnnyMalaria I am in the US office.  I live in an at-will employment state but after looking into it employers can still have you sign these contracts and they aren't immediately void.  Basically if you sign it you waive the at-will employment status.


 
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2018, 08:44:21 pm »
I live in the US.

This is the key. Employment law depends on where you live. If you live in the USA and are employed in the USA then your state employment law governs everything.

You need to understand differences around the world. In Europe it may be the law that every employee is given a written contract of employment stating all the terms and conditions of employment that apply. In the USA this is typically not the case. In many states employment is "at will" and either side can terminate employment with no notice required.

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Has anyone else had a situation similar to this?  Is it reasonable to find a job that will wait 3 months for an employee?  Does leaving a job over this look bad to potential employers?  Does not having a job look bad to potential employers?

I appreciate advice, thoughts or similar experiences. 

Edit: I should also mention, the vice president of engineering(my current boss) of the US based office has verbally stated that he thinks the notice is stupid and wouldn't peruse anything.

Just FYI, having a three month notice period is a benefit, not a disadvantage. It means that if you are laid off for any reason you have to be paid for the three months notice period in addition to any severance terms. On the other hand if you wish to resign most employers will be reasonable and will not insist you work the three months notice period. Usually 2-4 weeks will be agreeable to both sides to do any necessary handover and clean up any in-progress items.

So in short, if you find a job you want to move to then just tell your current employer you want to resign and agree a mutual departure date. In the USA two weeks notice is customary.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 
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Offline IanB

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2018, 08:49:29 pm »
I guess resigning isn't so bad.  I'd likely find another job before the end of the three months.  But it's something I worry about a little bit.

Never resign before first accepting a firm job offer from somewhere else.

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As a side question to anyone, what is the average amount of time between accepting a new job and your start date.  One company I talked to said they would want me in two weeks after signing which seems crazy to me.  Note this would be for a job about 8 hours away so a change in location would be necessary.

Two weeks is customary in the USA. However, if two weeks is difficult for logistical reasons they should be willing to wait longer. If they are not, then you should question whether you really want to work there.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 
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Offline pigtwo

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2018, 09:18:15 pm »
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In many states employment is "at will" and either side can terminate employment with no notice required.
Looking at the law it's hard to tell exactly what it means.  I live in Nevada and the law says
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At-will employment is a legal doctrine that defines an employment relationship in which either the employer or employee may break off the relationship with no liability, provided that the employee has no contract for a definite term...
This seems to say that you can't fire an employee if you've signed a contract with them which states how long they will work there.  I don't know if this goes in reverse.  Can an employer have an employee sign a contract that has them work for the company for a set amount of time?  I'm not sure.  My current feeling is there is no legal basis for their contract and so I can safely ignore this notice stipulation. 

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Just FYI, having a three month notice period is a benefit, not a disadvantage. It means that if you are laid off for any reason you have to be paid for the three months notice period in addition to any severance terms.
In my case the contract says nothing about a severance if we are laid off.  From what I can tell it's purely one sided.  I can't leave without 3 months notice but they can get rid of me whenever they want.

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Two weeks is customary in the USA. However, if two weeks is difficult for logistical reasons they should be willing to wait longer. If they are not, then you should question whether you really want to work there.
Two weeks from signing the contract to starting your new job?  That seems awfully fast to me.  I guess if you move your stuff over on the weekends and find a new place to live quickly it's not so bad. 

Thank you for the input.  I'm fairly unfamiliar with the professional working world so the advice is very useful.
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2018, 09:33:38 pm »
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In many states employment is "at will" and either side can terminate employment with no notice required.
Looking at the law it's hard to tell exactly what it means.  I live in Nevada and the law says
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At-will employment is a legal doctrine that defines an employment relationship in which either the employer or employee may break off the relationship with no liability, provided that the employee has no contract for a definite term...
This seems to say that you can't fire an employee if you've signed a contract with them which states how long they will work there.  I don't know if this goes in reverse.  Can an employer have an employee sign a contract that has them work for the company for a set amount of time?  I'm not sure.  My current feeling is there is no legal basis for their contract and so I can safely ignore this notice stipulation. 
FYI, "employment contracts" in the USA typically apply to executives, not to ordinary employees. It is doubtful that those words apply to you. If in doubt, speak to an employment lawyer to get proper advice about your situation.
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Just FYI, having a three month notice period is a benefit, not a disadvantage. It means that if you are laid off for any reason you have to be paid for the three months notice period in addition to any severance terms.
In my case the contract says nothing about a severance if we are laid off.  From what I can tell it's purely one sided.  I can't leave without 3 months notice but they can get rid of me whenever they want.
That's unreasonable. If true, you are being taken advantage of. Your local state law will in any case determine what bits of paper carry legal weight and what don't. Again, talk to a lawyer if anyone tries to pull that kind of stuff on you.
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Two weeks is customary in the USA. However, if two weeks is difficult for logistical reasons they should be willing to wait longer. If they are not, then you should question whether you really want to work there.
Two weeks from signing the contract to starting your new job?  That seems awfully fast to me.  I guess if you move your stuff over on the weekends and find a new place to live quickly it's not so bad. 
I didn't say that. It is customary to give two weeks notice to your current employer. If you are in the USA they will likely be fine with that.

That says nothing about your start date at a new job. As I said, that is something you negotiate with your new employer. And if they get stuffy about it you probably don't want to work for them. They will try to stiff you in other ways once you start work. Think about it...
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Thank you for the input.  I'm fairly unfamiliar with the professional working world so the advice is very useful.

First, don't create problems where none exist. If your current employer has said they won't insist on three months, why worry about it? If they do try to insist, talk to a lawyer to find out what protection the law gives you.

Second, stay employed until you find a new job that you want. Make sure the new job is a good career move. Always negotiate pay and other terms from a position of current employment, and be prepared to walk away. If your prospective employer shows signs of treating you poorly, turn them down. Do not let yourself get trodden on.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 
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Offline MosherIV

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2018, 11:55:30 pm »
Hi, the same thing happened to me, joined company, got taken over and forced to sign new contract.

I asked HR and other people.
Some points to help you out:
1. Once you hand your notice in, there is little a company can do to punish you (their ultimate sanction is job termination but you have nullified that by telling them you no longer want to work for them. Few companies will litigate, it is difficult and expensive and what would they gain or win?)
2. It is better to leave on good terms.
3. Even though your notice period is in your contract, often you can negociate a shorter period.
4. The HR department actually told me that they would want to amicably resolve the notice period issue rather than try to force it.
5. A colleague left at the same time. He was already on 3 month notice. He got the notice period he wanted - 6 weeks.
6. A freind pointed out that it actually good for you, the company must give you 3 months notice and MUST obide by it. In other words, if they make you redundany, you get 3 months to look for a job while they still pay you.

In other words, do not worry about it too much. You boss has actually indicated that the company would not force you to serve 3 months notice. In reality, there is nothing they can do. You could hand in your notice and never go back into work - what are they going to do? sue you? Worst they can do is not pay you. If they do force someone to go to work when they do not want to.....they will probably not do much work, be disruptive, may steal IP, may sabotage stuff, etc In others, it is not a good idea to force someone to work if they do not want to.

You can hand in your notice and put in writing the date you are going to leave. If the period is reasonable
eg 1 month or more they will probably let you have it.
 
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Online tooki

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2018, 12:05:14 am »
^^^this.

3 months notice is customary here in Switzerland too (the entire German speaking word, as you see), but in practice if someone wants to leave quickly, it usually happens, since either a) the desire to part ways is mutual, or b) there’s no real way to enforce it. If you stop coming to work, they’re not gonna keep paying you. You’ll just get a bad reference, which is no big deal if the next job is lined up anyway. No company is going to hire a lawyer to enforce the contract, since that adds cost and accomplishes nothing in the end.
 
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Offline pigtwo

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2018, 01:59:24 am »
@MosherIV Thank you for the input.  I feel mostly better about it now.  Just to add a little more input:

In regards to #3, would you try to negotiate the shorter notice before or after having a another job lined up?  I feel like if you had another job lined up and tried to negotiate and they refuse it would look at lost worse.  Vs you just giving 6 weeks or something. 

In regards to #6 I don't believe I get anything if they fire me or lay me off.  The contract only mentions 3 months of notice that the employee must give.  It doesn't say anything about the employer.   My guess here is that it's customary in Germany to do 3 months of severance with the employee giving 3 months of notice but since in the US severance isn't common they thought they could save money by not giving it.

I figure at this point I will shoot for 6 weeks of notice and give them that.  Like you said, I can't imagine they would try to sue me or something.  The only thing I can think of in that regard is someone above my boss or lateral to my boss gets real mad about it.

@tooki
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No company is going to hire a lawyer to enforce the contract, since that adds cost and accomplishes nothing in the end.
That's what I've been thinking also.  I guess I got a little paranoid.  Thank you!   
« Last Edit: May 12, 2018, 02:11:21 am by pigtwo »
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2018, 02:25:56 am »
I figure at this point I will shoot for 6 weeks of notice and give them that.

Are you really going to ignore everything I wrote?  ::)

Bear in mind that at many companies, if you resign, they will have you clear your desk there and then and march you to the door that very day. If you imagine you can carry on working for six weeks after you resign, keep dreaming.
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Offline pigtwo

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2018, 02:45:50 am »
@IanB How is what I said inconsistent with what you wrote?  I felt as though I was agreeing with your statements. 
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That's unreasonable. If true, you are being taken advantage of. Your local state law will in any case determine what bits of paper carry legal weight and what don't. Again, talk to a lawyer if anyone tries to pull that kind of stuff on you.
That suggest to me that you're saying abiding by the contract isn't a necessity.  If they pursue the matter I can talk to a lawyer like you mention.   

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First, don't create problems where none exist. If your current employer has said they won't insist on three months, why worry about it?
My boss says he doesn't care.  That doesn't mean nobody will care.  That is what I'm more concerned about.   And there is a problem here.  I'm at a disadvantage in the job market if I have to get 3 months of notice.  Maybe some places don't care but all of them so far(three) have considered it a deal breaker. 

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Bear in mind that at many companies, if you resign, they will have you clear your desk there and then and march you to the door that very day. If you imagine you can carry on working for six weeks after you resign, keep dreaming.
If I have another job lined up I would love to be walked out the door.  It's not like I need those last paychecks.  It would be nice to have that much extra time to move.  If anything that would give me exactly what I want, the ability to change jobs quickly. 
 

Offline Rick Law

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2018, 02:48:19 am »
...
...
@tooki
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No company is going to hire a lawyer to enforce the contract, since that adds cost and accomplishes nothing in the end.
That's what I've been thinking also.  I guess I got a little paranoid.  Thank you!

Always do your best to shoot for "parting on good terms".  It is a small world, you may run into people who know people who knew you at place X...

Also, if the new company is planning on hiring you for long term, 3 months is not a long time to wait.  I once delayed my new job for around 2 months.  It took so long for the "courting period" by the time they made me an offer, I was close to collecting my annual bonus by then (which was a good percentage of my annual income).  So, I told the new boss - you can paid me the expected/estimated bonus or I will have to wait till 2 weeks after I got my bonus check.  Your choice...  Easy choice for him to make, for him, it was rather like paying other's debt and that was something he rather avoid by waiting a bit longer, and I felt good because by his action I knew he is looking long term rather than immediate problems.
 
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Offline pigtwo

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2018, 03:01:16 am »
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Always do your best to shoot for "parting on good terms".  It is a small world, you may run into people who know people who knew you at place X...

Yeah, I agree.  I'm trying to give them as much notice as I can while not majorly hindering myself while looking for a new job.  Luckily my previous boss resigned for similar reasons that I'm looking to leave and he agree to be a reference for me before he left.  Then there's my new boss who is the VP of engineering who has stated that he doesn't really care if we give the notice or not.  So it seems that it's shouldn't be a big problem in that regard.  But I guess who knows who might hear about it and get mad. 

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Also, if the new company is planning on hiring you for long term, 3 months is not a long time to wait.  I once delayed my new job for around 2 months.  It took so long for the "courting period" by the time they made me an offer, I was close to collecting my annual bonus by then (which was a good percentage of my annual income).  So, I told the new boss - you can paid me the expected/estimated bonus or I will have to wait till 2 weeks after I got my bonus check.  Your choice...  Easy choice for him to make, for him, it was rather like paying other's debt and that was something he rather avoid by waiting a bit longer, and I felt good because by his action I knew he is looking long term rather than immediate problems.
That sound exactly what I would like.  I kind of worry that I don't have enough experience for a company to be willing to invest in me like that.  I don't really have hard industry experience.  While interviewing I commonly have to say "Well I did some of that in a personal project" I don't get the feeling that really goes over well.  At least in comparison to work projects.   
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2018, 03:18:32 am »
@IanB How is what I said inconsistent with what you wrote?  I felt as though I was agreeing with your statements. 
I explained to you that two weeks notice is customary. I'm puzzled you would "shoot for 6 weeks" after being given that information. Trust me, two weeks notice is completely standard in the USA. I'm guessing you did not grow up in the USA and are not familiar with the culture here? Yet, you make no mention of work permits or visas. So I am slightly puzzled by your lack of familiarity with this. Do you not have any friends or family who can advise you?

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That suggest to me that you're saying abiding by the contract isn't a necessity.  If they pursue the matter I can talk to a lawyer like you mention.
I believe for a contract to be valid in law there has to be a consideration on both sides. What did your employer give you in return for signing the form? If there was no valuable consideration then it is likely the "contract" you signed is nothing more than a bit of paper. This is where legal advice would be helpful if anyone makes a fuss about it.

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My boss says he doesn't care.  That doesn't mean nobody will care.  That is what I'm more concerned about.   And there is a problem here.  I'm at a disadvantage in the job market if I have to get 3 months of notice.  Maybe some places don't care but all of them so far(three) have considered it a deal breaker.
Your boss is familiar with local employment customs. This idea of "you have to give three months notice" sounds like you are being taken advantage of. It seems almost as if you are being played like a fish, with the obvious goal of stopping you from trying to resign...

Of course 3 months would be a problem. It is completely out of the ordinary and unexpected. Nobody is forced to give three months notice of termination.

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If I have another job lined up I would love to be walked out the door.  It's not like I need those last paychecks.  It would be nice to have that much extra time to move.  If anything that would give me exactly what I want, the ability to change jobs quickly.
Just give two weeks notice of termination like everyone else does. Option 1 is they don't want you to leave and will offer you a pay rise to persuade you to stay. Option 2 is they will shrug and say goodbye. If they say they want you to stay for more than 2 weeks, ask them how much they will compensate you for the additional time.

If your new job requires relocation, ask the new company to pay moving expenses. (They might say they have no relocation policy, but ask them anyway.) Make sure to agree a start date that allows time to move. Also consider including some time off between the old job and the new. You will need some time to move in and sort things out before you start work.
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Offline ChunkyPastaSauce

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2018, 03:38:15 am »
I'd take the employment contract to an employment/labor lawyer and go over the section at issue... likely worth the $150 vs 3 months. Plus it's impossible to make an informed decision without actually being informed.

Also you mentioned your boss said they wouldn't enforce the section... if me I'd either ask for that in writing or send an email asking to confirm/clarify.... mentioned as a minimum, so can be referenced later if needed.
 

Offline pigtwo

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2018, 03:42:45 am »
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I explained to you that two weeks notice is customary. I'm puzzled you would "shoot for 6 weeks" after being given that information. Trust me, two weeks notice is completely standard in the USA. I'm guessing you did not grow up in the USA and are not familiar with the culture here? Yet, you make no mention of work permits or visas. So I am slightly puzzled by your lack of familiarity with this. Do you not have any friends or family who can advise you?
Since you've decided to completely condescending I'll be brief.  I'm from the US.  I'm aware 2 weeks is a customary amount of notice.
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I believe for a contract to be valid in law there has to be a consideration on both sides. What did your employer give you in return for signing the form? If there was no valuable consideration then it is likely the "contract" you signed is nothing more than a bit of paper. This is where legal advice would be helpful if anyone makes a fuss about it.
My contract says I have to give 3 months of notice.   Nothing is given in return.  My boss also had to sign this contract.  His actually stipulated 6 months of notice.  As I've stated the whole time I don't believe the contract is enforceable. 

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Just give two weeks notice of termination like everyone else does. Option 1 is they don't want you to leave and will offer you a pay rise to persuade you to stay. Option 2 is they will shrug and say goodbye. If they say they want you to stay for more than 2 weeks, ask them how much they will compensate you for the additional time.
This is the whole question of the thread.  Will they really do nothing if I break the, however unenforceable, contract?  A couple people have resigned in the company so far and they have given the full notice period so some people seem to think it's serious or they have such flexible schedules that they don't mind.   My question is if it seems possible they would attempt to sue me or do something else out of spite that I violated the contract. 
 

Offline pigtwo

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2018, 03:52:07 am »
I'd take the employment contract to an employment/labor lawyer and go over the section at issue... likely worth the $150 vs 3 months. Plus it's impossible to make an informed decision without actually being informed.

Also you mentioned your boss said they wouldn't enforce the section... if me I'd either ask for that in writing or send an email asking to confirm/clarify.... mentioned as a minimum, so can be referenced later if needed.
I was considering consulting a lawyer.  I just wanted to see the general sentiment before I did.   As for asking for my boss saying he wouldn't enforce it, I don't think he could stop it if the company really decided wanted to do something about it(IE sue me).  I imagine his opinion could mean a lot and the fact that he won't personally try to do anything makes it much less likely that it would happen.  But I don't know, maybe the head of HR takes it as a personal insult and demands something is done.   
 

Online tooki

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #20 on: May 12, 2018, 09:41:07 am »
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My boss says he doesn't care.  That doesn't mean nobody will care.  That is what I'm more concerned about.   And there is a problem here.  I'm at a disadvantage in the job market if I have to get 3 months of notice.  Maybe some places don't care but all of them so far(three) have considered it a deal breaker.
Your boss is familiar with local employment customs. This idea of "you have to give three months notice" sounds like you are being taken advantage of. It seems almost as if you are being played like a fish, with the obvious goal of stopping you from trying to resign...

Of course 3 months would be a problem. It is completely out of the ordinary and unexpected. Nobody is forced to give three months notice of termination.
The OP already said the company is German, and in Germany, 3 months notice is the minimum required by law. My guess is that the contract is written by the German home office, while the local manager recognizes it’s unusual for USA and has expressed flexibility.

Frankly, the long termination period is a good thing: if the company wants to terminate early (without cause) then they’re on the hook for 3 months’ pay even if they don’t want you to return. OTOH, if both parties want to end it early, they can. And if the OP unilaterally wants to leave sooner than 3 months, there’s really nothing they can do to stop him.
 

Offline NivagSwerdna

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #21 on: May 12, 2018, 09:55:57 am »
I've been in a similar situation more than once and I would say it's OK to have a 3M clause (and increasingly likely as your level/experience grows) but only ever accept it if it is symmetric. i.e. there is an obligation to pay you for the 3M if the employer terminates.

You are in a good position in that you can potentially afford to resign and then look later, say half way through, which is a gamble you may well have to take if you wish to move... however this can work out well... reverse psychology works really well here... if you resign and say you are desperate to stay and work the whole three months you can easily find yourself with 3 months paid holiday! (try and time it with good weather)

In my experience having a very short notice period WAS a huge help when getting a job but for that you need to be looking at self-employment rather than permanent and taking on the risks and pros and cons of such an arrangement.  As time has gone on I think employers are more picky and that immediate availability is less of a factor and in fact many employers are prepared to now wait.

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Is it reasonable to find a job that will wait 3 months for an employee?
In the UK, Yes if you have specific in demand experience.
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Does leaving a job over this look bad to potential employers?
Yes. Not a good topic of discussion as you are effectively admitting you were working in a role you had intent to leave.
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Does not having a job look bad to potential employers?
Yes. Very bad.  You need to fill that gap with something useful, which can be working on something yourself.  Never have gaps.

YMMV
« Last Edit: May 12, 2018, 10:02:55 am by NivagSwerdna »
 

Offline MosherIV

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #22 on: May 12, 2018, 10:01:05 am »
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In regards to #3, would you try to negotiate the shorter notice before or after having a another job lined up?  I feel like if you had another job lined up and tried to negotiate and they refuse it would look at lost worse.  Vs you just giving 6 weeks or something.

Always have the job lined up first. Do not show your intentions to leave, EVER!
Hand in your notice with the amount of notice you would like to serve. Bear in mind that you notice period will include any holiday you are due.

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In regards to #6 I don't believe I get anything if they fire me or lay me off.  The contract only mentions 3 months of notice that the employee must give.  It doesn't say anything about the employer.   My guess here is that it's customary in Germany to do 3 months of severance with the employee giving 3 months of notice but since in the US severance isn't common they thought they could save money by not giving it. 

Check the wording of the whole contract, somewhere it will say something about it applying to both sides.

In most countries, contracts must obide by the law of that country or they are not leagel. Most companies would make sure that any employment contract are leagal before having ANY employee sign them.

Do not make a big issue out of 3months notice and you will get what you want.

"Gardening Leave" (where they stop you going to work during notice period but you are still technically employed) would depend on the nature of the work you and your company does. If it is to do with government/defense, yes definitley you will be put on gardening leave. If you do work that is crutial to the company and they fear you may steal IP or sabotage then yes, they will immediately walk you out of the door and put you on gardening leave. I think it may be more common in America and large corporates. Here in UK, it is starting to become common for companies to put people on gardening leave when someone resigns.

How long can you get away with for notice period?
Depends on you and the company. Ask for what you want (if America the norm is 2 weeks, ask for it, they will understand). They will tell you if that if acceptable or not. They will tell you what they think they want/need. It is then up to you to say yes/no.....ie negociate.

Do not worry about it until you hand your notice in.
 

Offline abraxa

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2018, 12:20:00 pm »
That sound exactly what I would like.  I kind of worry that I don't have enough experience for a company to be willing to invest in me like that.  I don't really have hard industry experience.  While interviewing I commonly have to say "Well I did some of that in a personal project" I don't get the feeling that really goes over well.  At least in comparison to work projects.

Don't worry. If you're confident about your abilities, can elaborate on what you did and what you learned, it can leave a very good impression. Keep in mind that doing engineering in your spare time shows that you're not just doing this to make money but because you enjoy it. That's something any company wants to see in a job applicant.
 

Offline iainwhite

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #24 on: May 12, 2018, 03:31:17 pm »
Nevada is at "at-Will" state, so by default either party (employer or employee) can terminate the employment relationship at any time.  The 'at-will' system is totally different to employment practices in Europe and the UK, so beware of applying European customs and procedures to US employment issues.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At-will_employment

If you signed a contract, your employer may be able to enforce a notice period, although in my opinion it would be difficult to enforce a notice period as long as 3 months.  As other posters have said, 2 weeks is the custom.

I suspect that your employer has applied a contract drafted for the German market to US employees without realizing how out-of-step it is for the USA.
It is almost certainly unenforceable to require a 3-month notice, but of course the only way to find out is to resign and see what happens. Usually a compromise can be reached.
The last time I quit a real job, my employer thanked me profusely for giving a generous 2 weeks notice!    (I have run my own business for the last 12 years...)

I suggest speaking to an attorney - show them your employment contract and see what they think.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #25 on: May 12, 2018, 04:25:56 pm »
I have a couple of rules of thumb.

Firstly, never work for a company where the contract is unnecessarily asymmetric.

Secondly, never work in a country where the employer/customer takes your passport and/or you need an exit visa.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
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Offline JohnnyMalaria

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #26 on: May 12, 2018, 04:58:40 pm »
I'd take the employment contract to an employment/labor lawyer and go over the section at issue... likely worth the $150 vs 3 months. Plus it's impossible to make an informed decision without actually being informed.

Also you mentioned your boss said they wouldn't enforce the section... if me I'd either ask for that in writing or send an email asking to confirm/clarify.... mentioned as a minimum, so can be referenced later if needed.
I was considering consulting a lawyer.  I just wanted to see the general sentiment before I did.   As for asking for my boss saying he wouldn't enforce it, I don't think he could stop it if the company really decided wanted to do something about it(IE sue me).  I imagine his opinion could mean a lot and the fact that he won't personally try to do anything makes it much less likely that it would happen.  But I don't know, maybe the head of HR takes it as a personal insult and demands something is done.

Have you spoken with HR? Your boss's opinions/intentions could mean jack. Ask HR directly to see the official termination policy and get a copy in writing as well as written (email) confirmation of anything else you discuss. I hope you are in a small company. My last behemoth of a company outsourced all its HR and the only way to talk to someone was through a call center. The menu options were entertaining. "Press two to terminate an employee."

BTW, be cautious about pissing off your current employer and avoid burning any bridges that you may need in the future. In my own case, I retired from my large company after 24 years. Being in NC, I only had to give 2 weeks notice but I gave them 5, not only because it meant 3 weeks' more pay/401(k) matching but so I could finish up critical work and train people how to do the stuff only I was skilled at. Maintaining professional links has proven very helpful. Some years ago, a direct report of mine gave his two weeks and went on vacation. I didn't know (yup, HR didn't tell me) until he got back. Needless to say that he burned not only the bridge with me but a larger circle of influential people in the industry.
Tell me it can't be done and I'll do it. Or give it a damned good try.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #27 on: May 12, 2018, 05:08:09 pm »
BTW, be cautious about pissing off your current employer and avoid burning any bridges that you may need in the future. In my own case, I retired from my large company after 24 years. Being in NC, I only had to give 2 weeks notice but I gave them 5, not only because it meant 3 weeks' more pay/401(k) matching but so I could finish up critical work and train people how to do the stuff only I was skilled at. Maintaining professional links has proven very helpful. Some years ago, a direct report of mine gave his two weeks and went on vacation. I didn't know (yup, HR didn't tell me) until he got back. Needless to say that he burned not only the bridge with me but a larger circle of influential people in the industry.

Very true. It is a surprisingly small world. I've met people I know from industry in mountain huts at 10kft supplied by helicopter, and on Indian beaches :)

I was once working for a contract R&D house, so a 3 month (symmetric!) notice period was reasonable. During my notice period I was doing all my normal work, including interviewing candidates for the company. We trusted each other and the trust was reciprocated.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline Ice-Tea

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #28 on: May 13, 2018, 04:03:34 pm »
"Hi, I have decided to pursue other adventures. I'll be happy to stay around for a month, doing everything I can to make the transition as easy as possible. Or I can hang around for three months, drinking coffee, reading the paper and in general kill any postive vibe this place still has.

Your call"


I've never met an employer that would keep a soon-to-beµex-employee against his will. It's just a stupid thing to do.

Offline hans

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #29 on: May 13, 2018, 04:25:06 pm »
Also as an employee, I can say it's not a healthy thing to keep on working when you've already resigned. Minimize the period between resigning and leaving the job. I've had this when I was made redundant, regrettably I didn't take all my holidays and kept working for a bit less than 2 months. My leave notice was contractually only 1 month, but I agreed to round it up instead of down..

For me it created an atmosphere where I knew the work I was doing was primarily in the benefit of my employer. The results and accomplishments I gained won't change when I would be rushing through work in the last 2 weeks.

I wanted to part on good terms, but that doesn't mean that the employer doesn't need to carry their responsibilities and risk they take to be an entrepreneur/running the business. Anyone that quits a job will create a gap in the companies organization; but in the end that gap shouldn't become your problem or work to fill.. rather try to look forward on other things as soon as possible.

In my view, ideally you would hand in your resignation letter, commit your last work to the repository, forward outstanding e-mails/issues to your supervisor and leave the building..

I can't comment on legal advice. I'm not in US, but I think experiences with regards to resignation is pretty universal considering EU and US culture has a lot in common.
 

Offline Ice-Tea

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #30 on: May 13, 2018, 06:26:04 pm »
That might be the case if you are layed of, but I have quit a few jobs for various reasons where I actually still liked the job and the people and I probably worked harder during my notice period than before.


Offline medical-nerd

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #31 on: May 14, 2018, 07:06:36 am »
Hiya

I'm in the UK. It is normal in my area of work to have a 3 month notice period and you are expected to work through the remaining time of your notice period. If you don't, or just leave without 3 months notice, then you can be reported to the national governing body and lose your license to practice completely screwing up the rest of your life. Also being in post for a few months means that you have implicitly accepted the contract whether you signed it or not.
I envy those of you that have more flexibility, especially in the US.

Cheers
'better to burn out than fade away'
 

Offline JohnnyMalaria

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Re: Work advice - Contract asks for 3 months of notice
« Reply #32 on: May 14, 2018, 02:34:29 pm »

I envy those of you that have more flexibility, especially in the US.


Unfortunately, it works against you, too. I worked in a department that was split between the UK, US and France. Over the years, there were 3 or 4 major corporate reorganizations (Operation Excellence they called it). Due to the differences in each country's employment laws, it was the US group that got hit the most followed by the UK. In a space of 3 years I had to reapply for my job 4 times. For the first few rounds, no-one in France was affected. Some years later the company tried to let some people go in France but talks with the government failed so the company decided to close the entire site. Someone painted a coffin in the director's parking space.
Tell me it can't be done and I'll do it. Or give it a damned good try.
 


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