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I handed in my notice with my employer and gave them 3 months

Resolved Question:

I handed in my notice with my employer and gave them 3 months notice, as I am moving to another state - my employer (CA) decided to let me go with 1 months wages and insurance, was this fair? Can I sue?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

Unfortunately, an employee who gives advance notice of their departure may still be terminated prior to that date, assuming they do not have a contract that guarantees them employment for a specified period of time beyond the date of termination imposed.

California Labor Code Section 2922 provides that: "employment, having no specified term, may be terminated at the will of either party on notice to the other." Assuming that you do not have a contract that guarantees you employment for a specified term, and assuming that you are not a public sector employee, you are an "at-will" employee. As an at will employee, you are free to leave your job at any time, and in exchange, your employer is free to change the requirements, promote, terminate or demote you as it sees fit and without reason.

Although it is very courteous for an employee to provide advance notice of their departure, the law does not obligate them to do so and does not confer upon an employee who chooses to do so any special privileges or rights. All of this means that even though you give advanced notice that you will be leaving, an employer is under no obligation to keep an "at will" employee employed until the date you said you'll be gone.

Very often managers will terminate employees who give two weeks notice on the spot. The idea being that it is sometimes better to let employees who are planning to leave anyway go immediately, since (or so the argument goes), they will not be as productive in their final days because they know they are leaving, they might sour the morale of other workers, or might steal company files. I'm certainly not suggesting you would do any of these things, but this explains the possible rationale and totally lawful motivations that an employer may have for terminating an employee who gives notice before their proposed departure date.

Furthermore, an employer is typically under no obligation to provide "severance" (i.e. compensation or benefits upon termination) to departing employees. Under the federal WARN Act, an employer with at least 100 employees that lays off at least 50 during a 30-day period must either give 60 days notice of the lay off or pay 60 days wages. This is the only time severance is a requirement. Otherwise, there is no law, either state or federal that requires an employer provide any severance at all.

Thus, the 1 month wages that your employer provided does not fall below some state or federal minimum requirement.

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the very best of luck. Bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

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