5

I just got let go from the company, was withheld discretionary bonus, not given a reason I was let go. Yet I'm being asked to share project details and strategies I've been working on in two meetings in person with the CEO. Two days before my final days. Should I decline or accept?

14
  • 42
    If that is the case, then attend the meetings and provide the feedback that they are asking for. That is the professional thing to do.
    – sf02
    Feb 14, 2023 at 21:52
  • 16
    This question has way too little info on the background of the story, so I voted to close it. That info makes a LOT of difference when dealing with the "exit".
    – virolino
    Feb 15, 2023 at 6:51
  • 19
    "yet I’m being asked to share Project details and strategie" Isn't this just equivalent to asking you to hand off your work so long as you are still within the period of notice and still working for the company.
    – DKNguyen
    Feb 15, 2023 at 18:27
  • 4
    You can always quit two days early for undisclosed personal reasons. Then if they need something from you, you can ask for something in return. Or take PTO if you have it. Feb 15, 2023 at 19:34
  • 20
    This question really reads like "Can I engage in petty bs because I'm mad that I got fired?" This is really not a game you want to play - you can't win, but there's a nonzero chance you could really lose...
    – Blackhawk
    Feb 15, 2023 at 22:57

8 Answers 8

-50

If you've been fired and now they want information - here is how I would answer it:

"My Contracting rate is $xxx per hour, I estimate that to fully divulge all the information and expertise I am in possession of will take a total of Y hours.

Please approve a purchase order for $xxxx and pay in advance and I will gladly assist"

Others are saying that you should play nice etc. - but they have already given you your marching orders. You are not obligated to play nice.

26
  • 11
    I think this is absolutely the right response if they asked you after they shut off your email address and took your laptop. If it happens before then, it would be gracious of you to forward whatever notes you took (assuming you took any, wink wink nudge nudge)
    – LeLetter
    Feb 15, 2023 at 17:25
  • 29
    If it's after the OP has already been terminated, sure tell them tough luck. But, at least to me, it doesn't sound like that is the case here in which case OP is still within notice and still being employed and paid by the company and this just sounds like handing off their work.
    – DKNguyen
    Feb 15, 2023 at 18:28
  • 18
    @DanielR.Collins: "Two days before my final days." says the question. So this answer misses the target, as OP is still an employee with duties. It's either after the last day (or it would be illegal to tell the company this) or the question was misread maybe...
    – OldPadawan
    Feb 15, 2023 at 21:25
  • 15
    The advice in this answer is attempt to extort the employer, and then when that doesn't work, commit fraud. Feb 16, 2023 at 6:10
  • 7
    This answer might win "most downvoted accepted answer"!
    – Stef
    Feb 16, 2023 at 9:50
102

As hard as this will be, leaving a company gracefully is a great quality to have.

Even if it may be thankless.

Leaving spitefully and burning bridges at the very best has no winners in the short term and could damage your reputation and future contacts in your network in the long term.

Attend the meetings and do your best, you are still being paid.

8
  • 12
    "A professional is someone who tries to do their best work even when they don't want to."
    – keshlam
    Feb 14, 2023 at 22:30
  • 6
    Agreed. It's a small world; you'll meet some of these people elsewhere in your career.
    – PeteCon
    Feb 15, 2023 at 6:04
  • 17
    @keshlam - Sounds a lot like an adage made by managers who want to get away with mistreating people because they know they won't retaliate "because professionalism". I'd be inclined to agree with you if he was let go properly. However, firing someone without cause, without justification, and witholding a bonus that they had, in the absense of a reason to fire them, likely earned, isn't professionalism. Feb 15, 2023 at 17:01
  • 10
    You owe your company as much loyalty as they show you - otherwise you are being exploited. In today's world, there is not much duty in either direction. Don't knock everything over and poop on the desks - that would be unprofessional - and hand over what is owed - but don't bend over backwards to please them. Feb 15, 2023 at 19:05
  • 14
    @ScottishTapWater For me it's about self-respect, not anyone else's. If you don't want to be paid for those remaining two weeks, feel free to say so and ask to be terminated immediately. If you're going to take the pay, do the work to exit cleanly. Pettiness doesn't look good on anyone, under any circumstances.
    – keshlam
    Feb 15, 2023 at 19:41
82

I’m being asked to share Project details and strategies I’ve been working on in two meetings in person with the CEO.

Those details and strategies do not belong to you. You have worked on them on company time and been paid for it. The company owns them. You are in possession of them, just like you would be in possession of the car keys to the company car. That does not mean you get to keep it when they fire you and it does not mean you get to withhold the keys from them. You have to give them back. You also have to give them their knowledge.

The stories you hear, where people charge big sums of money for their services, that is after they left. And they do not charge for the knowledge (which remember, doesn't actually belong to the employee) but for the time spent on the transfer of said knowledge. You cannot do that right now, because you are still under contract to give them your time for money and they get to decide how to spend that time. A meeting for knowledge transfer is certainly within the bounds of your current contract.

If you refuse, they have a reason to terminate you for cause. I don't know what that means in your juristiction, but it's probably worse than "being let go" and you will certainly lose any reference you may have had there, any goodwill or favors you may need along the road. You may even face a lawsuit, that their company lawyer will do on company time and money, while your defense lawyer drains your personal bank account.

So go in there, and do your job one last time. That's what they pay you for, that is what you agreed to in your contract.

1
  • 4
    "The company owns them" -- "[don't] belong to the employee" -- I find this framing sloppy, if not dystopian. Thoughts can't be owned, and if they could, the company could retrieve them post-employment, not by request but on demand. There's a case if said thoughts are a product of significant company investment, but them being acquired simply "on company time" doesn't cut it, any more than it does for a patentable invention. I agree they're entitled in this case in sense of paid delivery of goods or services, but that reads differently. Feb 16, 2023 at 15:46
46

Two days before the end of the notice period you are still employed, so you still have to follow orders.

Since you are meeting the CEO, it’s a good opportunity to ask them first why you were laid off, why your bonus was withheld, and whether that could be changed. It’s worth asking, and you are definitely allowed to do that. It’s even possible that some money-pincher withheld your bonus, and the CEO would have disagreed and changes it for you.

In the USA, it is in many states legal to quit on the spot. That will cost you two days earnings, probably won’t help with the reference either. You can ask the CEO first what reason you would have to not just quit. (But ask an employment lawyer first). In Europe, you can’t do that.

6
  • 4
    This. Since the CEO is the head of the company they can override someone lower down if they want to. You have nothing to lose here.
    – bob
    Feb 15, 2023 at 21:17
  • "Two days before... you are still employed" This is the best answer for your career. The world, when it comes to employment, is surprisingly small - don't learn lesson that the hard way. Feb 16, 2023 at 15:03
  • 2
    DON'T QUIT OUT OF SPITE! If you quit, you're likely to be ineligible for any kind of unemployment benefits.
    – Dancrumb
    Feb 16, 2023 at 15:39
  • @Dancrumb - They can’t quit they were already fired. They are likely under no obligation to work those 2 weeks. It’s typically just a formality. With that said, my advice to the author would change, based on whomever fired them at the company
    – Donald
    Feb 16, 2023 at 16:59
  • 2
    If you are fired, and it is two days before the end of the notice period, and you are in a place where you can quit without notice, you can absolutely quit. If you don't quit you are employed to the end of your notice period. You get paid and you are absolutely obliged to work. @Dancrumb Obviously you would have looked for another job instead of relying on unemployment insurance.
    – gnasher729
    Feb 16, 2023 at 17:14
14

Do what they ask. Since you are still working there, just be a pro and do it. Being pro may also be helpful in securing a better/good reference for your next job.

2

You are currently working for that company. You have been paid for all the work you have done and it belongs to your current company. They are 100% entiteled to all your work, documentation, and your time in handing off the project to others.

You would be a real douchebag if you didn't help facilitate the transfer, because you would be incredibly outraged if the positions were reversed. If for no other reason, talk with the CEO and ask what kind of recommendation he would give you as a reference, and hand off everything as a gracefully as possible.

Your thought should be: "How can I move on and improve my current state" NOT "How can I royally screw over this company as I'm leaving".

2

Something other answers miss a little is that refusal to do your job and work with your employer, can constitute grounds for summary dismissal with cause.

So, if your position was made redundant, and you were eligible for unemployment benefits, being terminated with cause can change that situation.

In addition, refusal to work can also be constituted as resigning under certain circumstances, which could also impact the ability to get unemployment benefits as well.

To me, I don't see a clear reason why you'd jeopardise that.

-5

If you don't want to be helpful, but still don't want to be a major PITA, call in sick the last two days. If they then want you to provide information when you get better, you can do that at an hourly rate.

11
  • 1
    How is pretending to be sick to avoid sharing information the company needs not intentionally being a major PITA?
    – Philipp
    Feb 16, 2023 at 12:25
  • 1
    Seriously, don't ever do this unless you can provide evidence that you were actually sick, otherwise you're exposing yourself to the extortion claims mentioned in comments as a possible consequence of other answers here. Lying about your availability in order to force a payment later on is petty and, in any reasonable jurisdiction, actionable.
    – Spratty
    Feb 16, 2023 at 12:34
  • 2
    If they asked for a 'turn over' meeting and you avoid it, I'd say you're morally obligated to give them the information when you are no longer sick. Even if you disagree with or dislike the word "moral" I'd advise you it is in your best interests long-term to do it this way anyway. I've seen it done the other way, and the consequences can come back to bite you years or even decades later. "Oh I just cannot understand why that happened!" will be something you'll find yourself saying years later. Feb 16, 2023 at 15:08
  • @Spratty I don't believe your claim for a second. If you say you got a stomach bug, why should anyone question that? They are happy if you don't show up under such circumstances. List three court cases where someone has gotten into trouble for this. I am not holding my breath.
    – d-b
    Feb 16, 2023 at 20:15
  • @J.ChrisCompton Not really. If you are sick under "regular" circumstances, no one expects you to catch up with the work you didn't do when you were sick. Imagine the OP had some monotonous work like receptionist or mailman and happened to be sick the last few days of his employment, should he come back next week and answer as many phone calls or deliver as many letters he otherwise would have handled the last few days?
    – d-b
    Feb 16, 2023 at 20:18

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .