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I handed in my notice last week, give you some sort of back story:

The environment I work in as a developer is very toxic, it's a sort of "We've always done it this way" business attitude and they didn't like me trying to change that, this lead to some bullying/teasing. We're a small team made up of 6 people: 2 developers 2 business analysts, the lead developer and the head of the department. One of the analysts is very immature and will make a big deal/laugh at anything that could be made into an innuendo, she does this so regularly I've learnt not to speak during meetings/team discussions as I find these situations unprofessional and awkward. I've raised this 3 times with both the head of the department and my line manager but I was told to get "thicker skin" and nothing was done.

All of this led me to look elsewhere and I got a job offer and handed in my notice last week.

The first thing that rang alarm bells was my exit interview was arranged for a few days after I handed in my notice, other people at this company always seem to have theirs closer to their leave date and it was like that at my previous company. I brought up all my above concerns and issues during this exit interview, HR said they would email me with a write up and more information (holidays left, installment payments for training I owe, etc.).

This hasn't happened yet.

Other things I noticed are all my tasks in TFS (what we use for our source control) were reassigned to my line manager, my capacity was reduced to one day, it says on TFS I have four days booked off this week: from tomorrow, March 14th to March 17th (I have no pre-booked holidays planned during this time). We usually have a team meeting on a Friday where we arrange TFS tasks for the following week but I was told there was no point in me going to this meeting because I needed to get a report out. I also noticed my name has been removed from next weeks tasks and my capacity is set to zero.

When I handed in my notice it was agreed my last working day would be the 7th of April, however I feel like they're getting prepared to have me gone by the end of the day. Can they do this when it was agreed that my last day would be the 7th April? Should I raise this with my line manager or just ride it out and be expected to be let go by the end of the day? Will this count as being fired/result in a bad reference?

UPDATE

Still nothing has been said to me about it, I finish work in 45 minutes so they're really leaving it last minute to tell me but they are asking me to pass on a lot of information and documentation so I feel like this could be a garden leave situation. I will mark an answer when it's happened along with another update

UPDATE 2

Nothing was said yesterday evening, I even stayed late so they could do it when the rest of the team had left. I received an email from HR as I chased them up this morning and all it confirms is my last date is the 7th April. I'm thinking I should probably query whats going on with my line manager now.

UPDATE 3 - Outcome

So I haven't been put on garden leave but due to the fact I had no work in TFS and after just doing a lot of documentation and going through clearing my code you could be forgiven for thinking that.After querying it this morning I got called in by my line manager who said I was still employed by the company even though I handed in my notice and that this morning my level of work wasn't good enough, I explained to him the fact that I had no work and I had spent the morning clearing stuff up and doing documentation and the fact that TFS states I'm off this week and my capacity set to zero from next week, he can see how that comes across to me and how can they be surprised that my attitude to work has dropped due to this and as well as the current environment. Note ask whats up if this happens to you and don't let it affect you

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    Not really an answer, so I'll post here, but I totally agree that this a garden leave. I gave my notice in at a software house where I had access to live servers and all of their code base and yet they made me work my four weeks notice ... I was shocked. I could have planted a time-bomb, wrote dodgy code in trunk, ruined their business but they were happy to risk keeping me working until my dying day. Oddly enough sales guys got garden leave, but developers did not. It was very strange. Don't sweat it, enjoy your paid leave. – Jocie Mar 13 '17 at 15:11
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    Sounds like they are going to send you home and hopefully with pay. They may ask you to sign some agreement(s). Read the agreements. If there are some things you don't understand and are not comfortable with then consider checking with an attorney before signing. – paparazzo Mar 13 '17 at 15:13
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    @Jocie "... and yet they made me work my four weeks notice ... I was shocked." - Where I live, it's fairly common to work out your notice period in full (assuming no conflict or other high-risk situation). Not everyone is that paranoid about quitter's vandalism. – marcelm Mar 13 '17 at 16:15
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    This does sound very much like what could happen I work in our business intelligence department so I deal a lot with their data... @NKCampbell I did think about it, HR even said in the exit interview I should have taken it up directly with them, but I felt I had lost the support of my line manager and the head of department and several people I spoke to about this also said she had the backing of a director who defends her if anyone critiques her in any way – BenYeomans Mar 13 '17 at 16:21
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    @Brandin - and if the developer has the power to change production configuration and deploy to production? Or change one of the dependency DLLs to something malicious? Or... or... or... - There's a risk. Source controls doesn't mean there is zero risk. Assuming that code reviews happen or that every commit is reviewed is naive. – Oded Mar 13 '17 at 20:28
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Looks like the company is getting ready to give you gardening leave, which is very common in the UK.

Which essentially means - you go home, you don't go back to the office, you don't produce work for the company. The keep paying you until your end date.

So, you are still employed till your last day, but not doing any actual work. The company may just not want you around (could be various reasons - effect on other employees morale, risk to the codebase and company computers etc...).


I get that you are concerned in regards to the feeling that you are being treated differently to other employees that have left, but... you are leaving? Why do you care about the perception anyone still at the company may have?

If this is indeed gardening leave, just take it and go. There is no good reason to make a fuss about it.

Use the time to find your next job. (or, given you already found one, prep for it, or just enjoy the break)

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    Common occurrence in the UK when you handle projects that are very close to a company's success or could possible take some of the ideas to your new job. As Oded said, nothing to worry about and since you already have a job offer elsewhere, think of it as a mini holiday. – Draken Mar 13 '17 at 12:19
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    Very common in IT positions in America as well, especially positions that have access to critical data, sysadmins in general, and anyone that has access to confidential employee data. +1 – Retired Codger Mar 13 '17 at 12:32
  • The question says "this led me to look elsewhere and I got a job offer", so I don't finding the next job is necessary. – svick Mar 13 '17 at 19:51
  • Common in the US also. If they have agreed to an exit date they normally owe you to that date, but in any position which might include security concerns or confidential access the company often has a low comfort level in allowing continued access, so it is share your needed technical info with the team, have your exit interview, here is your pay, turn in any badges, keys, etc., good day. – dlb Mar 13 '17 at 20:22
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    I agree with pretty much everything you said except this: Why do you care about the perception anyone still at the company may have? You always want to leave a good impression with you ex-coworkers. Imagine in a year he switches job and ends up with someone from this same company. That said, if he didn't do anything bad and is just worring about this gardening leave, as you said, he should stop being worried and just enjoy some time off. – Gabriel G. Mar 13 '17 at 20:53
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Can they do this when it was agreed that my last day would be the 8th April?

It wouldn't be unusual for a company not to be comfortable having someone around for another month. That's particularly true for someone who has already clashed with others at least several times.

I believe in the UK it would be typical to pay you for the rest of your notice time. This isn't uncommon in the US. Yes, they can do this.

Should I raise this with my line manager or just ride it out and be expected to be let go by the end of the day?

Raising this with your line manager won't change anything. That's just a waste of your time.

Whenever you give your notice, you should always be prepared to immediately be escorted out the door. It may or may not happen, but you should be ready just in case.

Will this count as being fired/result in a bad reference?

It cannot "count as being fired". You weren't fired, you quit.

This has nothing to do with gaining a good or bad reference. The impression you have made so far, and how you conduct yourself for the rest of your time there are the only things that will matter.

The first thing that rang alarm bells was my exit interview was arranged for a few days after I handed in my notice

It's unlikely this has any significance. It was perhaps a simple scheduling issue or just a coincidence. Either way, it's nothing to worry about - there isn't anything you can do at this point anyway.

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    As a side note as well, if you really didn't like this company, nor the employees, this may not be the place to use as a reference. You'd be wise to put your experience on a resume, but to use employees from here as a reference, perhaps not so much. – Kaizerwolf Mar 13 '17 at 13:20
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    Or if you use them as a reference, maybe only someone you had a better relationship with than the ones mentioned. – CodeMonkey Mar 13 '17 at 15:04
  • I wouldn't say it was "typical in the UK". It is certainly allowed in the UK, but not used particularly frequently in most industries. Probably more frequent for higher management positions, and in any industries where sensitive data is handled. – AndyT Mar 13 '17 at 15:36
  • @JoeStrazzere - My apologies, I must have skim read your answer and conflated it with Oded's. No, they cannot dismiss you without paying notice, except where you are dismissed for gross misconduct (which is a legal term), in which case you're unlikely to be handing your notice in. They may pay you in lieu of notice, or give you gardening leave (which was what I meant was more frequent for higher management positions and some industries). – AndyT Mar 13 '17 at 16:13
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While I think that gardening leave is the most likely explanation, it's possible that they're trying to combine a proper exit interview (mandated by HR but perhaps poorly understood locally) with a meeting to plan a handover. This handover could for example be in the form of expecting you to stay off-site, with access revoked, but capable of answering questions. Although they could perhaps handle that better, you might as well go along with it with good grace while they're still paying you. You may well only get a final statement from HR after the last time you're present on site -- and you'll want to check the holiday (pay) entitlement aspect carefully.

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You view the environment as "toxic" and your view might be correct but from an employer point of view they probably don't want someone with such an opinion around if they can help it so as stated above they are probably wishing for you to leave as soon as possible.
You need to check your contract but you should be able to obtain garden leave (i.e. continue to be paid whilst being at home) during which technically you will remain an employee. Be careful! It is possible they will try and get you to forfeit pay during that period and just stop working in which case you should first simply say "NO" and if it escalates, which is unlikely, consider getting legal advice. You need to ensure they do not intend to make you take any holiday you may have owing etc. or forfeit any other benefits you would accrue during your notice period. You do not have a right to be on the premises so don't necessarily expect to remain during your notice period. I would advise to resist signing any additional paperwork.
FWIW Garden leave will be a great opportunity to develop your new skills for your next role.

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