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Marsha411JD
Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19773
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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I have several employment termination questions, hoping to

Customer Question

I have several employment termination questions, hoping to clarify my legal rights and options.
After 6.5 years at a company I have submitted my letter of resignation last Wednesday evening via email and asked my supervisor to circulate that on my behalf.
The letter stated that I wish my last day to be the 31st of December 2015, and that I also wanted to take some time off prior to my next job and wished to take PTO from 16th-31st of December. I have accrued 160 hours of PTO, that will roll-over to next year if not used.
Next day, Thursday, I had conversations with several members of the upper management regarding my departure and respectfully ***** ***** attempt to continue employment. No comment was made regarding time off
By following Tuesday, I received a verbal instruction from my immediate supervisor that our company's in-house legal council, who also heads up Human Resources dept., wished to discuss my departure date and informed me that the legal council had issues with my departure arrangements. I thought that I would get a formal email/meeting invite to discuss, but nothing happened and took no action.
I was working remotely on Wednesday and on Thursday when returned to work, my supervisor has asked me if I had a chance to talk to our attorney? I responded that I did not receive an invite and was waiting for that. My supervisor explained that he was approached by his supervisor, a senior executive and asked if I had talked with our attorney?
This made me concerned and a little mad that these requests are coming verbally and not directly from people wishing this conversation to happen, using my supervisor as a messenger.
Thursday morning (today), I went in to see our attorney, when I got there I explained that I had received a message from my supervisor that he wanted to discuss my departure. The attorney, let's call him 'John', told me that I was legally not able to take PTO as my last two weeks and sited a few sources (I can't recall any of them, except employee handbook) and that I "can't extend my employment via PTO". I told him that I was not expecting to extend my employment and simply was requesting the last two weeks to be paid out of my PTO account which in our company is paid out in full in-case of employment termination. And that I was in-fact asking for my final date to be the 31st of December. He said that I had to physically be here on that day. I told him that was not a problem and if that's what is required I can be at work on the 31st.
He proceeded to ask me why I just don't cash out my PTO and leave on the 15th of December as my last day. I explained that I had stock options that were supposed to vest at the end of the year and wished to exercise them. John explained that even if I did that the company had a legal right to buy them back, on which I asked if they planned on doing so, he said he would have to check with other members of the board. We're talking about a very little amount of options which in today's dollars are equivalent to about $4k give or take. I was clearly upset by his tone and rhetoric.
Finally my questions:
1) Do they have a legal right to not allow my to take PTO the final two weeks?
2) If I stick it out until 31st am I missing any specific benefits by not leaving on the 1st?
3) If the stock options are bought back by the company, what evaluation is going to be used for them?
4) What is the legal advice in this scenario?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 11 months ago.

Hello,

Thank you for the information and your question. First, it is important to underscore the information that has been published in the TOS and elsewhere that we cannot, and do not, provide legal advice or opinions. This is a legal information Site only. That is mainly because of Bar ethics rules (and Site rules) that do not allow us to form an attorney-client relationship. With that said, we can still give guidance and options on any legal issue that might be raised by a post. But again, important to remind our customers of what they have already seen on the Site.

In any event, unless there is a contract or company policy guaranteeing an employee the right to take PTO at the end of their employment, the employer always has the right to set the conditions of the accrual and use of PTO. This is because it is not a benefit guaranteed by law and only provided at the discretion of the employer. I can also say that it is not unusual for companies to deny leave as a part of the end of employment once notice has been given by the employee. In fact, many employers lawfully just accept the resignation effective immediately. That is allowed if the employee is an "at will" employee. So, that is always an option for your employer and one you may want to consider going forward (assuming that you are "at will.)

From a statutory view there are no benefits that you would miss by leaving at the end of the month versus on the 1st, however, there may be language in your bonus, stock options, or other plans that effect any payout or exercise depending on the day of the month or year you leave so you will want to review those carefully before going back to your employer. This is solely contractual and not statutory.

There is no way anyone, other than someone with access to your options plan and internal accounting information can tell you what your stock options are worth or how they will be valued.

If you can, and are willing to, you might consider telling your employer that you are willing to work through to the end of the month versus taking your PTO, unless they are willing to give you an abbreviated PTO (for example a week) with your return to work for your final week. That way, you avoid any issues about the PTO that might encourage the employer to just accept your resignation immediately, which, I imagine, would effect your stock options or bonuses. That though, is up to you.

Please feel free to ask for clarification or ask follow up questions if you have them. If not, then if you could take a moment to leave a positive rating in the box above, I will receive credit for assisting you today. Thank you.

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 11 months ago.

Hello again,

I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any follow up questions for me from the answer I provided to you on the 11th. For some reason, the Experts are not always getting replies or ratings (at the top of the question/answer page you are viewing or in the pop up box for this question), which is how we get credit (paid by the Site) for our work, that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I received neither. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator. Please note that Site use works best while using a computer and using either Google Chrome or Firefox.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed. You can bookmark my page at: http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-marsha411jd/

Thank you.

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