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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Is an employee entiltled to severance pay if they quit or

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Is an employee entiltled to severance pay if they quit or resign

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

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. Otherwise, there is no law, either state or federal that requires an employer provide any severance at all.

The decision to provide severance would be motivated purely by the emplmoyer's desire to obtain a release of the employee's right to sue (typically offered in exchange for any severance money), and the desire to obtain such waiver is a function of whether the employer believes they are potentially exposed to a discrimination lawsuit, contract dispute, or some other legal action. In most instances, however, where an employer quits or resigns the employer does not offer severance of any kind.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, I would be most grateful if you would remember to provide my service a positive rating, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you.

Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Very best wishes to you.

Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Is an Independant Contractor considered an Employee? She worked for my Company for 12 years, 11 as an Independent Contractor and 1 as an Employee on payroll.

Can you resign without notice? If I was to give her some money for a job well done, would that be a conflict, or wouldit be better to leave it alone.

My Company has paid her last paycheck plus a check for vacation and sick day's. At this point, My Company is clean with her financially. She is still insisting severance pay, even thoughshe resigned.

Hello again and thank you very much for your reply.

Independent contractors are not considered employees, but this distinction is irrelevant for the purposes of your question. Employees and contractors can resign absent an agreement specifically providing to the contrary (i.e., if you had a contract which required 30 days notice before the employment relationship could end, that contract would be enforceable). I'm not sure what you mean by giving money for a job well done, but there would be nothing illegal about that and it would not otherwise affect your obligation with regard to severance.

If you have paid final wages and vacation, there would typically be nothing left to do and certainly no obligation to pay severance, despite what this employee may be claiming to the contrary.

I hope this helps.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

New question. An employee with held mail from my Company. It was one of his jobs to pick up the mail at my Company's PO Box. By going through his desk, we found unpaid bills to UPS Freight. We called them, paid the bills and asked why they did not notifiy my Company, that we were in collections, They said they indeed notified us via mail.


I approached my employee about this and he said he knew nothing about what I was talking about. His wife, that was my bookkepper at the time, was responsible for paying the bills.


I had him sign that he did not with hold my Company's mail. He signed it and stormed out the door, never to return.


He is now trying, just under a year later, to collect unemployment, stating that he was assaulted and filed a police report??? I have never heard any thing about his doings.


Big question is: with holding mail a crime?


Many Thanks,


Kim Manley Herbals

Hi Kim,

Thank you very much for your reply. I hope you are doing well.

Withholding an individual's mail can constitute "obstruction of correspondence" pursuant to 18 USC 1702. Specifically, that section states:

"Whoever takes any letter, postal card, or package out of any post office or any authorized depository for mail matter, or from any letter or mail carrier, or which has been in any post office or authorized depository, or in the custody of any letter or mail carrier, before it has been delivered to the person to whom it was directed, with design to obstruct the correspondence, or to pry into the business or secrets of another, or opens, secretes, embezzles, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both."

Obstruction of correspondence is a serious federal offense that can carry penalties of a fine and up to five years in prison.

Ordinarily, intentional obstruction of corespondence would constitute "misconduct" that can form the basis for denial from unemployment benefits. Accordingly, an employer in your circumsrtance would be wise to contest this employee's claim for unemployment and produce the letter which they signed admitting to the obstruction.

Again, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns. If I have answered your question, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Kindest regards.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you