Is it legal to require 30 days notice before resignation?

My wife is about to start a job, but they want her to sign a contract that says she will give them 30 days notice before quitting. She is only a secretary, so she isn't in a hard to replace position.

If she did leave and only gave 2 weeks notice, what would be the result?


2 answers  |  asked Oct 22, 2010 3:35 PM [EST]  |  applies to California

Answers (2)

Elisa Ungerman
Janet has pretty much covered all bases.

posted by Elisa Ungerman  |  Oct 23, 2010 1:27 PM [EST]
Janet M. Koehn
The likely result will be immediate termination. Unless the 30-day notice requirement is mutual, they would be able to terminate your wife's employment immediately, regardless of how much notice she gives or how much notice they unilaterally require. They might even try to designate the failure to give 30 days' notice as "cause" for the termination.

In California, employment is "at will", unless a contract prescribes different terms. That means she can quit at any time and they can fire her at any time. The labor code requires an employee be paid all wages due immediately if the employee is laid off or fired; at the end of the regular pay period if the employee quits.

It is likely there are other onerous terms in the proposed contract, and your wife (who should be speaking for herself!) should review it with an attorney experienced in employment law to advise her as to the impact of the contract, before she signs it. The minimal expense is worth it. You can find an attorney in your area by going to the California Employment Lawyers Assn's website, where you can search by city, county or specialty.

posted by Janet M. Koehn  |  Oct 22, 2010 7:38 PM [EST]

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