I resigned from my current job on 5th Feb, 2016.

I have a notice period of 3 months in my contract, but I asked my manager if I could be released early and he came up with 2 dates, saying "Is there a chance you could work till 25th March or 18th March (ideally 25th)? That extra two weeks would give me time this week to vet CVs and interview people as they will have a months’ notice minimum, it will provide vital overlap. We would want a handover with yourself before you leave."

To which I replied saying I would prefer to be released by 18th.

Based on this conversation I conveyed to my new employer that I can join from 29th March. But now, my current manager has changed his mind, as he is not able to find a replacement. he wants me to work till my notice period saying he never officially replied to my email confirming a date and he mentioned 25th as a tentative date.

Is there anything I can do to get the company to honor the 25th as my final day?

  • Where are you located? Are you in a country that requires Relieving letters? – djohnson10 Mar 17 '16 at 16:18
  • I am in London. UK. i don't need relieving letter, but I needed to end things amicably on a good note – Swati Singh Mar 17 '16 at 16:53
  • "What do I do?" - GET IT IN WRITING NEXT TIME. – The Wandering Dev Manager Mar 18 '16 at 12:46
  • In the future when trying to negotiate something like this when a company offers a compromise I suggest you take that compromise. Had you accepted the 25th things may have gone differently. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Mar 18 '16 at 15:08

The notice period of a contract of employment is legally binding. You cannot cut it short without approval from the company to change those terms. Potentially you could ask your current employer if you could create a handover documentation that would enable you to leave early or, worst case, ask your HR department for 'gardening leave' (dismissed but still paid).

Your only sensible option is to explain your situation to your new employer and request that your start date is moved forwards.

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There's nothing you can "do". Your boss clearly wants yo to stick around for the full 3 months, which is his contractual right. You could:

Talk To Him

Go have a heart to heart conversation and find out what's changed, and why he wants you to stick around. Explain your situation and hope he becomes more understanding.

Delay Your Start Date

Call your new employer and inform them of the situation: that you're stuck at your old job until May. They will probably be OK with it.

Leave Anyway

Just because your boss tells you to stick around doesn't mean you have to. You're an adult, and free to make your own decisions.

However, you will have to live with the consequences of those decisions, such as being taken to court over a possible breach of contract, or being painted as someone who is not to be trusted.

If you end up in court you might be able to argue that your boss agreed to let you leave early based on the e-mails exchanged between you. However, if you're interested in going with that option you may want to contact a lawyer first.

You should also consider what your new employers might think of your behavior in this situation.

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Your boss verbally agreed to the leaving date. Legally, it doesn't matter that he didn't agree in writing. A verbal agreement is just as valid as a written one, just harder to prove in court. Actually, by saying that he never replied to the email he admits that there was a verbal agreement. He now claims that it was "tentative". That's nonsense. A "tentative" date would be completely pointless to you. Anybody with half a brain would know that you are starting elsewhere, and you couldn't do that with a "tentative" date.

But worst case, if you leave, then the situation could go to court, and a judge would decide what he or she believes the actual terms were. Do you think your employer would take you to court, lie about the terms of your verbal contract in court (which would make him a criminal), and be believed by the court? If you believe that could happen, consult a lawyer. Ask them what the maximum cost would be, and ask yourself if that would be acceptable.

Meanwhile the other company expects you to start work on the 29th. So on Monday morning you first call your old boss that you are going to see a lawyer, unless he agrees there and then to let you go. Then you phone around for a lawyer who can see you urgently. Talk to him to be able to make an informed decision. Lawyers hate to say anything definite, so you have to insist on information that lets you make a decision.

Then unless the lawyer told you that you can't start with the new company, you would probably call the old company, tell your boss that his actions put you into an impossible situation, that you gave the new company a start date based on what he told you, tell him that he wouldn't want a new employee to start later if it was the other way round, and that you therefore quit as agreed on the 18th, and that he can talk to your lawyer.

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  • 1
    "verbal agreement is just as valid as a written one, just harder to prove in court" - in the UK that is not quite true, and not true in every jurisdiction. In the UK verbal promises "can be legally binding as long as the promise was clear enough, there was intention to be bound and the employees provided “consideration”, that is something in return." realbusiness.co.uk/article/… – user29055 Mar 18 '16 at 15:40

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