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California Lawyer
California Lawyer, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 1036
Experience:  Licensed to practice law in California
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Good afternoon. I am in New Jersey, and have been laid off

Customer Question

Good afternoon. I am in New Jersey, and have been laid off with (by contract) a notice of four weeks (in liew of severance). I have been requested to perform all the normal professional turnover tasks (work in progress, templates, docs, etc.) - for which I have no objection. I have been asked to come in to the office and be ready to work for the remaining time, for which I have a monor objection (would prefer the more typical clean break of sevewrance now that my turnover tasks are complete). BUT - my major objection is that I have been asked to train up a much lower-level staff member in some of my professional knowledge (I'm working as an IT project manager with substantial background in engagement management/business development/proposal writing). I have initially refused to do this and was told I would be declared insubordinate and would lose all my remaining "notice pay." Just how much am I obligated to do to be considered compliant at this point? Thanks in advance for advice.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  California Lawyer replied 8 years ago.
Well, unless you have a contract that spells out a term of employment and duties, etc., all employment is employment at will. You can be terminated at any time for good cause, bad cause or no cause (excluding prohibited discrimination).

In this case, in lieu of severance pay (which they are not legally required to give) they agreed to give you one month notice of termiantion (something else they are not required to give). During that time they are asking you to finish up some work and to train an employee who will try to absorb your workload. This is permissible.

While such a situation is distasteful (believe me, I understand), I would recommend acquiesing to their demand. The severance pay agreement might not be enforceable for want of consideration (I'd need more information to determine that) but in any case, it would likely cost more in a legal squabble over it that you would stand to get.

I'm sorry. I know thats a crappy answer, but thats what I think is the best way to go.

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks, that's about what I thought. I was hoping the concept of "insubordination" was limited in some degree once notice was given to me. Finishing up work, turning over things - no issues - but this is new work, and seems to be excessive (or in your words, "distasteful") demand for knowldge transfer. Unfortunately, with kids in school and etc., taking the "John Galt high road" isn't an option. Thanks for the advice.
Expert:  California Lawyer replied 8 years ago.
You are welcome. Best of luck to you.

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