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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49858
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I started my current employment on 7th August. My probation

Customer Question

I started my current employment on 7th August. My probation period, which includes a 1 month notice period (1 week for the employer), ended on 5th November. I mistankly thought it was the 8th and handed in my notice on the 7th. he company are now saying I must work my full non-probation notice of 3 months.
I want to start work at my new role in 2 months. The companies justification for denying my 2 month notice is that they have projects planned then (which I have not started). I am not in a senior position and I feel it's totally unjustified. I am just a standard web developer.
I don't want to leave on a bad note but I also won't be happy working the full notice period. What advice can you provide on this?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

What reason have they provided for asking you to do this?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi BenSorry if I wasn't clear. I am the one who decided to hand in my notice. I wish to work for another company, which is not a competitor.Would it be better if I upload the employment contract? Then it may be clear.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I have attached the notice period clause in my contract. My start date was 7th August.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

OK, thank you for your response and for the attached image. Leave it with me for now and I will review the relevant information and laws and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi BenSorry for posting another reply, I understand it resets the queue.I let my employer know that I was not happy with their decision to decline my reduce notice period, by simply stating in a Skype message that I am not happy with decision (I did not say anything else).They have now expressed how me leaving is a massive hinderence to them and it's making this entire situtation very awkward. They mentioned things like "waste of money on recruitment fees" and "letting everyone down". I have only been here 3 months and by no means a critical person in their business. I am quite upset about this and really don't know how I can concentrate and work productively in an environment based on their reply.I have not said anything to them at all since their reply.Thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.
Hi there thanks for your patience. If there is a written contract in place and it contains a specific notice period clause an employee must give if they wanted to resign, they will be contractually bound by it. Therefore, if the employee fails to honour this notice period they will be acting in breach of contract. Whilst no one can physically force them to work through their notice period, it would instead allow the employer to sue them for compensation for losses/damages resulting from their breach.In reality such claims are very rarely made. This is mainly due to the costs and time involved, also the relatively small damages that can be recovered. The employer has to show that actual losses have been incurred and often that is not easy to do. The most common damages they would claim for are if they have to engage temporary cover for the employee’s duties and the extra wages they have to pay them or recruitment fees for recruiting a replacement at short notice.So whilst there is no way of predicting whether the employer will take this any further, chances are that they will not. A more likely outcome is that the employer refuses to provide a reference in the future or if they do, it could mention that the employee had breached their contract.If no contractual notice period clause exists, an employee who has been continuously employed for at least one month is required to give a minimum notice period of one week in order to terminate their employment.It is therefore best to try and negotiate a mutually acceptable notice period that would suit both parties. However, if that is not possible and there is a pressing need to leave early, that is still a possibility, subject to the risks identified above.I trust this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please reply on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi BenThere something else. I did not actually sign the employment contract to begin with. I was sent it in an email but I was only asked to sign the offer letter.Is there any law or assumption that while I did not physically sign the contract, that i am bound by it simply by working for the company?I likely would have disputed the notice period, given the chance.Another point. The company never formally said my probation period was finished. There was actually some initial confusion whether or not I was still in my probation period. Does this mean anything?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.
A contract does not have to be signed to be legally binding. It can still be valid even if not signed. Ther could be an implied acceptance of its terms for example if you started to work under them and did not challenge them so you undertook the duties got paid etc and never indicated you did not accept the terms. And was there a specific length of probation mentioned?
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The contract says 90 day probation period. But day 89 and 90 were on the weekend. I handed my notice in on day 92.What I am getting at with all this is would I stand any chance I'd they were to actually sue me? Baring in mind I have been here for 3 months, I am not critical to their business, they will not lose any money if I left after 2 months etc.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.
I think it is very unlikely they will and even if they do their losses will be minimal and not worth pursuing. I hardly ever see such claims being made and don’t see this one bending the trend either
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

My response to your query should be visible on this page. Could you please let me know if it has answered your original question or whether you need me to clarify anything else in relation to it? If your query has been answered I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating, selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. I can still answer follow up questions after that if needed. Thank you

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi BenThanks for the responses so far.If I were to breach the contract (leave 1 month before my official end date, 2 months into my notice), and lets say the company would sue me for whatever reason (lets assume they have a lot of money to waste, and are doing to to get back at me). Would the following points help at all with the dispute:1. I handed in my notice 2 DAYS after my notice period was increased from 1 month to 3 months.
2. I provided 2 months notice, which is more than reasonable for my role in the company (junior/mid-level software engineer).
3. I handed in my notice after being at he company for only 92 days.What essentially would it come down to?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

Hi, whilst some of these points may be slightly relevant, I would not rely on them too much. The key s what losses would the employer suffer from you leaving early and what can they do to mitigate these. As mentioned, the most common ones are if they had to replace you with someone at short notice. They would have had to pay you to do the work anyway so in reality it is only the difference in pay for the replacement and for the duration of the unworked notice period. So the costs will be relatively low. Does this clarify?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Could you please let me know if it has answered your original question? You can either reply on here with a quick ‘Yes, thanks’, or select 3, 4 or 5 stars on this page. I can still answer follow up questions if needed to clarify anything for you. Many thanks

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

Hello, not sure if you are having trouble seeing my posts? Do you need any further assistance or are you happy with the response to your query? I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks