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My best friend is working in a small firm (approx 20-30 people) which has recently gone under change in management. The new partner/director treats employees like hell & has clear ideology of treating employees like his personal servants because he pays them.

They have salary issues as well and most of the time the cheques are passed well after 15-20th of every month (add to it the delay in in-cashing the cheque) since the last few months.

My friend and his colleagues were also tricked into signing a three month notice period contract by one of the directors (who was running the company solely before the new guy came in) by stating as requirement for some big contract that they were supposed to get.

Recently one of the person from the company quit after notice but he still hasn't received all his dues.

Now how can a situation like this be handled properly. If he quits by serving a notice period, there is a high chance he would end up losing some of his salary.

If he quits immediately after getting a month's salary he would end up losing some salary amount (considerably less) of the current month but he won't get his relieving / experience letter which he would have to explain to every single company that he may interview with.

This person is really talented & handles a lot of responsibilities at this place and I'm sure that the company will not be ready to relieve him early and will be forced to serve the full notice period.

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    What a bunch of bullies. Please don't follow this advice, but if it were me I would I would rather walk out and be unemployed immediately than be treated without dignity and respect. – maple_shaft Aug 1 '12 at 11:00
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    Every fibre of my being wants to suggest the Cartman strategy from South Park...but it's neither professional or appropriate. it'll all lie within the scope of your local laws – acolyte Aug 1 '12 at 13:39
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    What country (state if it is the US)? Many times that 3 month notice is unenforceable. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Aug 1 '12 at 15:36
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    @Ramhound - What if the contract states that they will have to pay a monetary penalty for not providing appropriate notice? It could also prevent them from performing the same job function at another firm. That is bad advice to give when you do not have the full context. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Aug 1 '12 at 15:44
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    @DavidNavarre The firm is not cash stripped as they have payed people regularly & spend nicely on other company events. Its more about the mentality of keeping people docked @ the company. Three months notice + due salary + fear of not getting relieving documents = people not being able to leave easily. – neeks Aug 3 '12 at 6:46
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This is definitely a case of know your legal system. Here in the US, the terminology and rules are bit different than what ChrisF writes of the UK. But we do have a system for guaranteeing pay and covering employees who give notice. Knowing what you are legally obligated to do and what the company can be forced to provide is the key to this one.

Also - I would think that even with a 3 month notice obligation, your friend could leave the company if his pay is not provided in a timely manner. No one is required to work for free. This is an area where I'd check local law - because if an employee stops getting paid, in most cases, the return obligations - like giving notice - are also no longer applicable.

If I were him, I'd investigate the law first and when giving notice have a sit down with the management (whoever will be on the hook for meeting the terms of his contract with them) and explain the concern that there have been several cases of pay problems, and that he wants to avoid this or he'll follow the procedures provided for by law and he should be ready to elaborate. In some cases, employers don't know the law, either, so realizing the nature of what they are obligated to do may be a surprise to them.

Judging by your profile, I'm guessing you're in India. I won't go into US law, then - but I will say that I know the norms of quitting and giving notice are very different from India to the US. I have a number of friends there, and it seems the standards for both employee treatment and employer notice are very different than in the US or UK - so it's well worth checking out the rules in your locale.

  • Good points there. – shasi kanth Dec 19 '12 at 13:13
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The proper procedure is to play by the rules. This is especially important when the other party doesn't or is threatening not to. This way there can be no doubt as to who is the injured party and who is the offender.

Your friend should hand in their notice and work the three months required, unless their employer tells them to leave early. If they do get asked to leave early make sure they get it in writing - an e-mail should be OK. You should either print it out or forward it to a personal address so you have a record of it.

If their salary isn't paid then they should be prepared to take the company to court to recover the lost money. In the UK there are industrial tribunals and (possibly) small claims courts for this sort of thing. Usually the threat of such action is enough for the employer to pay up.

Regarding the reference - in the UK all the old employer is legally obliged to provide is a record of when the employee worked for them. Questions such as "would you employ this person again?" are ignored. If your friend does everything "by the book" then there shouldn't be a problem with this. Any failure to provide necessary references will reflect badly on the old employer not your friend.

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    @ChrisF - Your advice is to "play by the rules" yet the person(s) have not been paid for their expertise. You should use a certified letter, an email's delevery details can be altered. Why the people involved would be worried about working for this company again confuses me. Anyone would be a fool to work for this company at this point even once, based on the fact, they don't PAY their employees. – Ramhound Aug 1 '12 at 15:41
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    @Ramhound - If the other party isn't playing by the rules it's especially important that you do. That way they can't try to make you out as the offending party. – ChrisF Aug 1 '12 at 15:43
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Most of the work contracts do not mention exact dates for salary credit and it is generally not considered an acceptable ground to quit without relieving documents.

More and more companies in India are opting to use longer notice periods as a general method of retention which IMHO is failing big time as it leads to employee frustration. Companies expect people to join immediately while at the same time having extended notice periods for their own employees.

My suggestion is to wait till the next paycheck and then resign by dropping an email. The email should be generic and not include any exact details about serving a notice period but more about the intention to resign and a need to discuss on the same.

After the email he can discuss with the management on an informal note giving some alternative reason like quitting for further studies at some other location, or family moving to a new place, . This way he can propose a sense of urgency while also putting an impression that he is not switching jobs but quitting for other purposes.

This might help him negotiate the notice period them and also by reminding about the gentlemen's agreement that they had at the time of signing the 3 month notice contract.

Once they reach a mutual agreement he can then drop another email as part of the same thread stating the conclusion of the discussion suggested by the previous email and also get a confirmation from the management side.

Now the only question is how references would end up for the new job. Is it acceptable to mention about your equation with the top management of your previous company to your new potential employer?

  • Wait, you answered this question yourself? The way it's written, it sounds as though you're not answering your own question, but someone else's. – David Navarre Aug 3 '12 at 12:43
  • This question is on behalf of my friend who is facing this situation and had asked for help in this regard. Knowing no other better place I posted it here. I have posted my opinion to know what people @ SE think of it. – neeks Aug 3 '12 at 13:08
  • Sorry, once I re-read the question, I saw that you did state several times that it was your friend having the problem. – David Navarre Aug 3 '12 at 13:15
  • Quitting the job without serving entire notice period is fine.. but what if the company is not ready to provide relieving documents? Doesn't it affect the concerned employee in the future when he was asked to provide relieving documents of all his previous companies? – shasi kanth Jan 7 '13 at 8:49

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