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Context

I am a salaried full-time employee at a small company where there are about 30 people. This is in western Europe. There is a high amount of employee turnover and frequently people leaving are very disgruntled about broken promises. Management usually speaks negatively of of people that have left, as if they were betrayed by them.

Over the years, I've come to know other employees better on a personal level, including management, which means that I have a lot of inside knowledge about their feelings towards their work, coworkers and employer.

I've come to know that many announcements and talk by management about people resigning are completely untrue. I don't mean that they omit details to keep spirits up, but they actively spread falsities about them as if to paint them off like the bad guy. About half of the people leaving faces legal threats or actually ends up in a lawsuit. It comes across to me like they feel that they've been wronged and now they'll make it hard on them.

For the employees leaving, this always happens at gotcha moments on their last day while the days leading up to it have been really pleasant and professional. It always involves a lawyer contacting them about some obscure clause and removal of pay. It always becomes clear that the company has been building a case against these employees since their resignation, and the evidence is always only text messages taken out of context (but definitely through false entrapment) implying breach of contract, testimonies by people close to management about things that never could have happened, etc. I have seen them (including HR) plot these things myself.

Background

I also want to leave the company soon because of unfulfilled promises (bonuses, overtime compensation, role responsibilities, vacation days, etc.) made to me over the past years, but have become completely paranoid because of the way people leaving the company have gotten slandered, face legal issues and are in financial trouble because of it. My contract requires that I give 1 month notice.

Since a couple of months I have a legal aid insurance which is specialized in workplace conflicts. I'm trying to substantiate as much as possible about the broken promises made to me, so that hopefully when I get legal threats about unrelated things I can show that I have a long well-described dossier of broken promises.

Problem

It still leaves me to wonder about how I can prepare for gotcha legal threats. There are too many obscure clauses which could be thrown at someone in any case.

Is it even possible to cover myself for every legal thing if an employer is not going about these things in a malevolent manner? If so, are there any established methods or guidelines to go about this? My primary goal is to leave as peacefully as possible.

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    You are deep into "talk to a lawyer" territory. – Dark Matter Aug 26 '18 at 2:17
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    What is your location? Are you contractually obligated to serve a notice period? This might be a situation where just walking out the door without warning is warranted. – Erik Aug 26 '18 at 7:53
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    @JuhaUntinen that's why I started with asking whether it's an option. – Erik Aug 26 '18 at 8:35
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    It's not paranoia if they are out to get you. As other's said, tell us the country. If it happened to me, where I live, I know a very good employment lawyer that I have used twice, and she would love ripping them to pieces. – gnasher729 Aug 26 '18 at 11:14
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    Re close votes: This answer does not ask for advice with (official) policies that should be handled by HR. This answer does not ask for legal advice (although the answer may well be ask a lawyer). This question is well on-topic and can be answered without traversing legal waters. – rath Aug 27 '18 at 0:41
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Well, you are asking an unanswerable question. Having said that, I'll add that nice and easy always beats complicated. A well kept written log of every interaction has seldom been trumped by the most intelligent of lawyers. Just write stuff down. And I do mean everything - including when and what text messages you receive, everyday interactions, emails, notes on the desk, getting ugly-eyed in the corridor. Even the slightest of screwups will be damnable for them, and since there are many of them, chances are they will screw up before you. The more people conspiring, the more idiots are involved, and it follows that the likelyhood of screwups goes to infinity at a much greater rate than the number of people involved.

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this always happens at gotcha moments on their last day while the days leading up to it have been really pleasant and professional. It always involves a lawyer contacting them about some obscure clause and removal of pay.

It still leaves me to wonder about how I can prepare for gotcha legal threats.

Is it even possible to cover myself for every legal thing if an employer is not going about these things in a malevolent manner? If so, are there any established methods or guidelines to go about this?

In general, the right way to prepare for and deal with any legal threat is to talk with your lawyer.

Talk ahead of your resignation, explain what you have seen happen, then follow your lawyer's advice when the time comes.

I would expect that your lawyer will give you appropriate words to use if confronted during your resignation day. Often that will be something along the lines of "my lawyer will contact you".

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  • Make sure you have enough cash available to sit it out for one or two months, even if you are in the right not being able to pay the bills may force you into settling something in a bad way
  • Talk to a lawyer, even before leaving.
  • Try to behave absolutely correctly, by the book and minute-accurate in logging your working times.

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