Resigning from a job

I’ve decided to resign from my job. I’m on good terms with my employer, however I’m just REALLY bored and I have a better offer. The job itself is pretty dead-end anyway.

Our team is really understaffed and my leaving will just make it more so. So in other words, the company will probably be pissed.

Another thing. When we all recieved raises 5 months ago, they never went into effect. We are supposed to recieve them retro-actively in a couple of weeks.

So my question:
Can the company refuse to pay me the retroactive raise? Is there any legal recourse (its not a lot of money, but its enough).

Can I and should I make the company sign something that lists what I am owed (back pay, unused vacation time) and releasing my from any liability resulting from anything I worked?

Companies often make employees sign similar statements upon leaving.
All comments and suggestions are welcome.

First off, you’ll never going to get your raise until you learn to spell “receive.”

No, seriously, how did you all receive your raises if they never took effect? Did you get something in writing? Was it an oral promise? If they promised you all raises and it was an oral promise, you’d run into the Statute of Frauds as a bar to the claim if the amount is over the amount stated in your local state. Since there, presumably, are some number of employees involved, it probably is a substantial amount.

As to the vacation time, my advice is to take it before giving notice.

Losing the retroactive raise is probably the least of your worries. Unless your company has a clear policy on such things it’s easy to get screwed out what you feel is rightly yours in this case. I lost ten days of vacation time when management changed at one company and the “clock” was reset for everyone.

are you governed by a contract (union or otherwise?) or personnel policies handbook?

If so, then the employer is obligated to pay for the items listed. It differs by the company (mine for example will pay unused vacation leave but not unused sick leave).

The planned raise? I dunno. was it in writing?

I’ve seen cases both where the raise was given and not given. If it were me, I would give the raise, but that’s me. If you have a dispute about pay, often there is a part of a State department that will assist with disputes (or you can sue in a civil court). Check under “labor relations” for example in your state directory.

re: getting the company to sign something? Doubt that you’d be in a position to require anything (what would you do if they refuse? come back to work?). Companies will often ask for the letter of resignation in order to complete the employee file cleanly.

We were informed that our raises start on a specified date. They continued to pay us at our old rate for several months afterwards. I have emails from my manager and one of the executive officers of the company verifying this.

I have a great deal of experience with leaving bad jobs. First, does your company have an employee handbook? Probably not, or you wouldn’t be asking about their policies. if so, your answers may be in there. Second, is there an HR person? Any questions to him might not be held in confidence, but if you are thinking of leaving anyway, what’s the dif? The company likely has some written policies about termination. Discretely finding those may be difficult, but should be attempted.

As a matter of general experience, I’d say that, other than a really small, shady company, they probably would make good the retroactive raise to you. And they probably will pay you for unused vacation, IF THAT IS THEIR POLICY. But, everything may hinge on your giving them proper notice. I had one employer who specified in some of the documents I signed when I joined, that proper notice was one month! And proper notice was required in order to be paid for unused vacation, etc.

If you know a lawyer in your state, ask him about what the law requires. Good luck.

I agree with SteveCT–talk to your HR or benefits person. There is no law that says the employer has to pay retroactive raises or unused vacation; rather, it should all be spelled out in your employee handbook or other company developed documents.

Regardless of how pissed off your fellow employees might be, their feelings won’t affect written policy.

Msmith, some of of the prior responses give highly questionable advice, but I can’t tell for sure, because you don’t say what state you are from. Laws differ. If you’ll let us know what state you are in, I might be able to be more helpful. (Although it may not be until the weekend, as I have a brief due tomorrow.)

Email would be sufficient written ackgmt that the company promised a raise. Since it is based on valid consideration (the services of the employees, etc.) it appears to be validly binding. As others mentioned, there are many other factors that may enable you to get the raise: a union, for example. Company policy, etc. Then there may be statutes that govern the situation, which undoubtedly would help you.

Some states (MA, for example) do have laws saying that the employer MUST pay for all earned but unused vacation time, except any that can be forfeited under “use within a certain period of time or lose it” rules.

Also, if you talk to any HR person, do not tell him that you are planning to quit and want to know how your benefits will be affected. Ask in some other general way that wouldn’t lead him to believe you are quitting. I don’t want to say that all HR are spies for management, but in my experience a lot of them are. Just be careful.

Your state probably has a Web site with all the labor laws explained. I’m not sure about the retroactive raise, but if I were you I’d wait until I get it to quit, unless you are willing to accept that maybe they won’t give it to you after all.

I am not a lawyer, but I spent many years in Human Resources and dealing with employment law, so I can address this with some degree of certitude. Still, don’t take anything you get from this board to the bank; you really should consult an attorney if you’re seriously worried.

I don’t know what state you’re in, but for all the states I’ve had experience with, the company will owe you the back pay for the awarded but unpaid raise. This is not a promised raise with no due date; this is a confirmed-in-writing raise with an effective date and a deferred start date. You were working for the employer with the understanding that your compensation, from the effective date onward, was at the specified increased level. At the time you sever your employment relationship, you are owed all agreed-upon compensation, whether or not it had been deferred. (There are a few exceptions for various types of non-recoverable compensation, such as for Section 125© accounts and certain stock-purchase plans. None of them covers this situation.)

I agree with the other posters, that you should track down an employment-policy manual and review it carefully. Nothing in it will take precedence over the relevant state and federal laws and regulations (in other words, an assertion that you will forfeit your deferred compensation won’t stand up in court), but it will give you an idea of how difficult they’re likely to be about it.

Again, if you have serious concerns, you must contact an attorney. No amount of anonymous, half-informed advice on a message board, however well intentioned, will replace face-to-face consultation with a legal professional.

Let’s see here. You’re in a terminally boring, dead-end job; you’re chronically overworked; your company generally frowns upon employees improving their lot elsewhere; you have doubts about whether said company will actually honor their legal commitments; you already have a better offer, yet you’re still unable to make a smart career move because you worry about stepping on someone’s toes?

Am I missing something here?

My experience may or may not be relevant, but I just thought I’d share…

Leaving a large and reputable company (a Baby Bell). My planned departure date was a few weeks short of the date on which I would be vested in stock options, but I got clever and added my vacation to the last date I was physically on site, to reach an official termination date that was past the vesting date. Clever, huh? And perfectly OK with my manager.

But then, after I’d given my 2 weeks notice, and set a start date with my job, and had packed and moved out of my desk–I got a call at home from my manager. It seems that HR had decided not to allow departing employees to take vacation; they were henceforth required to take any accrued vacation in cash. Therefore my termination date was the day I left the building; a check for my vacation was in the mail; and I would not be vested in options.

There was no such HR policy, at least one that had ever been written down. But it took 6 months and a lawyer to get them to cough up the options.