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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20233
Experience:  Assisting employees and employers for over 14 years.
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I work for a major financial company in NY--Citi. I have been

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I work for a major financial company in NY--Citi. I have been here for 30 years and am a VP. I was offerred another job and accepted and gave 2 weeks notice to my supervisor. he advised there is a new garden leave policy which says i must give 30 days notice and cannot work for another firm until the 30 days are up. he was unaware of the policy as was his boss. I never signed anything, but when i found the termination policy it states if you fall under this policy HR will advise you. i was never notified, nor did i sign anything. HR also states if i violate this policy they can force me to pay back my cash bonus award (gross) for 2012 which was paid in January 2013. they also told me I could leave or anytime but could not start with another company for 30 days. Is this legal? Am i bound by this. What if I start work for another company?/ What can they do?? HR told me there is nothing they really can do but send a letter to my new company and advise them i am under a garden leav policy.

please advise.

Welcome and thank you for your question!

I am sorry to learn of these circumstances. An employer cannot just implement a garden leave policy on their own. A garden leave condition is only enforceable when it's made a part of a written contract that is signed by both the employer and employee.

If an employee (or union representative) has not signed such an agreement, then no such term can be enforced on the employee.

The facts that you describe suggest that the current employer is either careless, trying to be a bully, or trying to play hardball.

I know that you do not recall having signed anything. Call their bluff. Tell them to give you a copy of the contract you signed that includes this requirement. If they don't produce such a signed agreement, feel free to tell them to pound sand.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back. I am happy to address follow-up questions. Thank you for your business!

~~ J.B.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your quick response and help. I do have a follow up. Since this is a bank, I was told most financial companies have this policy for people at certain levels. If They institute a policy like this for certain levels and above, you are saying they must get a signature to enforce?? I just want to be sure as this is a very large company with over 200,000 employees. I just want to be sure they can't force me to pay back my bonus or wait to start a new job. they say all banks reciprocate, but if they can't enforce why is it in the policy. the policy does state it is only for certain levels of employees as designated by HR. Please advise again.





It is possible for an employer to have such a clause in a contract with an employee. You can read about that here:

However, a contract is different than a workplace policy. An employer cannot just adopt a policy such as the one you've described.

To be enforceable, it would have to be in a written contract between the employer and employee.

I hope this helps to clarify things!

~~ J.B.
JB Umphrey and 2 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

thank you so much.