Today I resigned. My boss did not take it well. He locked me out of my company email and informed me that he wanted me to work strict office hours during my notice period of 1 week. (9-5 is unheard-of at my company and this is obviously just to inconvenience me). He also sent me a letter to my other email informing me that I'm being fired, and sent it as well to the recruiting company that originally placed me. Because I sent my resignation from my company email, it's difficult to contest the facts as he's presenting them since I don't have access to that email (In retrospect I should have sent it from, or cc'd, my personal email).

The only other co-worker who regularly works in the office is about to start a holiday that will run through my notice period. To be honest, my boss' reaction is such that I don't really feel safe working alone with him in the office for a week.

How can I find out my status and if I am expected to come in next week?

The letter already states that he won't provide any recommendation OR verification of employment (which I'm pretty sure is illegal), but given his reputation and my industry I will not need his recommendation to find other opportunities.

EDIT: I am in the UK, in case that affects anyone's answers.

  • 1
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I know that resignations should be handed in on a piece of paper (not email) because they need to have your signature on them. Jun 27, 2014 at 20:22
  • @Radu Hmm, I'd never heard that. Jun 27, 2014 at 20:35
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    I don't know UK law that well, but in the U.S., being fired actually puts you on better legal footing. Also, your payroll tax documents should be able to satisfy anyone's need for proof of employment. Gut it out, unless you are in actual physical danger. If you are threatened, call the authorities (police) immediately. Jun 27, 2014 at 20:38
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    Talk to a lawyer immediately and get your options cleared up before you go back. I can recommend a good employment lawyer I used for 15 yeas while in the UK, but that's something I can't put out here as it's not appropriate - so contact me directly if you want that information. Otherwise good luck, and my suggestion is that if you feel unsafe, make sure appropriate authorities (police, friends, etc) know this and where you are. Jun 27, 2014 at 20:51
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    Comments removed. Take extended discussions to The Workplace Chat. Jun 27, 2014 at 22:49

4 Answers 4


This sound like retaliation to me.

I would contact the HR department of your company immediately. Did the recruiting company believe you or your boss? I would contact their HR department as well, possibly.

I would also consider finding an employment legal advisor.

I have never heard of being required to work after being locked out of a company's resources (physical or digital). In my experience, either you are expect to leave immediately (happens when you leave for a large competitor, usually) or you work a notice period.

The only scenario I can think of where you would not have access is if you are being let go with notice, but 'free to go' - in the sense that you don't have to come in and you collect pay as a form of severance package. I see this most often in mass-terminations, or countries where you legally are required to give notice.

  • Oh, if only we had an HR department. We have an MD, and four other employees. Well, now three. Jun 27, 2014 at 20:31
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    Size Doesn't make any difference all company's have to have legal procedures for discipline - by doing this he has effectively shot him self in the foot not following procedures makes the dismissal automatically unfair IE he would automatically lose at tribunal. Smaller companies do get a bye for some minor things but grossly failing to abide by the spirit of the law is not accepted.
    – Pepone
    Jun 27, 2014 at 22:03
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    @Pepone - true, but in a tiny company with no HR department and no layer of management other than the boss he's having a problem with, there is no possible recourse other than getting legal action involved. Jun 29, 2014 at 1:13

I would go and see the Citizens Advice Bureau or preferably your trade union if you are member and suggest that they get a lawyer to set up a compromise agreement. You have written evidence of libel and threats of giving a bad reference which you could use as leverage.

You could also risk going to work if they do strike or threaten do not retaliate call 999 (911) and report an assault - note any break in the skin makes it GBH


Do you have a contract that you signed? If not, and assuming you're in the States, the whole "two week notice" thing is just a courtesy. If you feel threatened at work or if you are skeptical that you're going to get paid, by all means don't go in to work.

If this person has that kind of reputation otherwise, perhaps you can have the recruiter verify your employment instead if that becomes an issue? Otherwise, it doesn't sound like you have a particularly large amount to lose in your situation by no-showing your final week, and potentially a pretty decent amount to lose.

As a side note, you appear to have figured this out for yourself approximately one step too late but you always want to make sure that you've cleaned out any personal data or vital information from your workplace (meaning your email but also potentially the actual desk that you sit at) before you provide notice because unfortunately sometimes bosses react like this. This doesn't mean you have to literally pack up in anticipation of stuff, but if you're keeping your 15 year Rolex at your desk and you 100% want to keep it, make sure you tuck that away before you hand your letter over to your boss.

  • I do have a contract, unfortunately. The recruiter was just excited to be able to place me again, as you'd expect. Jun 27, 2014 at 20:33
  • Is your contract with the recruiter? Because otherwise, if your (now former) boss just sent you a termination letter, that indicates that he is willing to break the contract from his end and he inadvertently did you a big favor by letting you out of the contract without penalty. Jun 27, 2014 at 20:49
  • No, my contract is with the employer. Jun 27, 2014 at 20:55
  • @NotVonKaiser that sort of relationship is not that common in the UK.
    – Pepone
    Jun 27, 2014 at 21:46

Some industries lock employees out of all company access when they give notice and ask them to leave immediately. They'll just pay you for the time of the notice period.

You're with a small company, so I doubt they have any types of policies in place. In defense of your boss, one week is short notice. Obviously there's little trust, so he wants to make sure you're actually working, thus the 9-5 requirement.

This whole claim of firing you is odd and sounds like an ego thing. You can't quit, I'm firing you.

Keep the recruiter as your reference. You've been a good candidate for them so why not? It doesn't sound like you need this boss. Make them as the employer on your CV along with the other company. The recruiter can verify your employment contract there. You don't need your present employer. Any future contact will just be miserable.

Send a letter with the date you are leaving and sign it. Keep a copy. I know it is late, but it's better than nothing. I don't know if there are any agencies that he is required to file when firing an employee. You could try and check there.

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