Where I live there technically is no law requiring a person to give notice when quitting. I've never worked as a contractor before but a company made me an offer with the clause

Company has the right to immediately terminate this Agreement at any time by giving written notice of the effective date of such termination. The Contractor shall have the right to terminate this Agreement at any time by giving five weeks prior written notice of the effective date of termination.

The length of time is not stated in the contract but they verbally told me it would likely be for a couple months. I have a potential job lined up in around a couple months time but it's uncertain. What would happen if I quit the contractor position without giving them a full 5 weeks notice? Is it likely I would be in some sort of legal trouble? I don't really see how this works because you can never force an employee to work and what if I just called in sick each day.

Alternatively the contract doesn't specify work hours so I could offer to continue working for them part time to make up for the remainder of the 5 weeks. Would this technically cover the conditions of the term?

I'm in BC, Canada.

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    This doesn’t answer your question, but I wouldn’t sign such a one sided contract to begin with. The notice period should be equal for both sides in my opinion. – fubar May 12 '18 at 2:10
  • At a bare minimum, they could probably sue you for breach of contract. Not to say that they'd win in the end, but it would still be a lengthy (and expensive) hassle for you to deal with. Calling in sick repeatedly would probably be a bad idea with respect to a lawsuit, especially if the employer could prove you were, in fact, not sick but out working somewhere else. TLDR, I'm with @fubar - don't sign something this lop-sided. – Steve-O May 12 '18 at 17:02
  • Alternatively you can just abide by the contract and turn in your notice now and wait 5 weeks. Just work out a deal with your new employer citing the contract. – Dan May 14 '18 at 16:19

First of all, you have to check if the provisions of the contract obey all the prescriptions of the law in your country.

The contract is against the laws in your country: you might be able to invalidate the contract, but it would probably take time and money, as you may need to involve a lawyer and/or a judge.

The contract follows the laws in your country: you signed it, you have to adhere to it, or get ready to be sued for breaching it. It will cost you again money and time.

Based on the above I would not trust advises from random strangers on the Internet, but rather seek advice of a professional

  • And if you invalidate the contract, then you might find yourself without a job. – gnasher729 May 12 '18 at 7:00
  • Also circumventing the terms of the contract might tell other employers you're dangerous. – Dan May 14 '18 at 16:20

I'm not from Canada and have no idea about Canada. Here in Europe however, in the countries I've lived in, there need to be the same notice periods for the employer and employee.

Now, it may be different for contractors. However, that big a difference appears unattractive for you, so unless other conditions (money, project) are magnificent, I would try to negotiate.

Before you do, however, try to understand the company's expectations and how long they would need you. If your quitting early would cause them a lot of trouble, avoid accepting. Don't burn bridges.

Normally, in such contracts you have provisions on sanctions: what will happen if you don't start your job at a specific moment, etc. If you don't have them, law from your country frequently applies.

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    It's contractor, not employee. As either employee or contractor I would find different notice periods highly unfair, so the rest of the contract would have to be excellent to make me accept it. But then the company's notice period seems irrelevant in this case. – gnasher729 May 12 '18 at 6:58

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