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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I live in New Jersey. The below statement was in my employee

Customer Question

I live in New Jersey. The below statement was in my employee agreement as a Sales Leader.
You agree to provide the Company with at least 30 days’ notice should you decide to terminate your employment for any reason.
I gave them written notice this past Thursday, 10/13/2016. Do I have to work all 30 days or can I give a "my last date will be x" in a follow up to my notice? I did not acknowledge the 30 days but they verbally said "we will work through a transition over the next 30 days."
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** it will be my pleasure to assist you. I'm not sure I understand your question. I do understand that there is a clause requiring you to provide 30 days notice, but what exactly did you do instead? Can you clarify the situation?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I have them the written notice. I have accepted another job and need to start 10/24/2016. I have five vacation days left as well. I want to know if I can say my last date will be x. I'm not even consented about getting paid. I just want out.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Thank you. So are you asking if you can simply "tell" your employer your last day will be 30 days away but not actually work for the next 30 days? When did you say your last day of employment would be when you gave notice?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I did not tell them or mention the 39 day period. I have notice and they assume 30 days because it was in my offer letter. Knowing NJ is an at will state, I just want to know if I can legally give them my last date will be 10/23/2016. Can I be sure for breach of contract as an example? I want to exit and do not care about getting paid. I want to start the new job on 10/24 but understand this might be problematic.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Thank you.

If you signed an agreement saying you would provide 30 days notice, then you would be in breach of contract if you did not work for at least 30 days after the date on which you gave notice. It's not about getting paid. Your employer included this clause in your contract to avoid a situation where you would leave abruptly and they would be caught shorthanded.

I would be up front with your employer that you are looking to leave by the 23rd and offer to do everything you can to help them find a replacement for you by that date. If they can find a replacement then they can't really claim any "damages" arising from your breach of contract and so they would have no incentive to sue. Candidly, even if they can't find a replacement by the 23rd, their damages are likely to be so minimal from your early departure that it probably wouldn't be worth their time and money to sue you anyway. But technically they could, and that's why it's in your best interest to be very clear about when you will be leaving and to do everything you can to help them find someone to take your place.

If I can clarify anything at all for you, please do not hesitate to ask. It is my pleasure to assist you further if necessary....

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