Boss forcing me to work full notice period despite agreeing it was not necessary

(21 Posts)
BubblingBlancmange Mon 17-Feb-20 20:25:23

Seeking opinions on what I should do in this situation:

Three weeks ago my employer out of the blue informed me that my performance was below standard and I would be put on a Performance Improvement Plan. Obviously I was shocked and upset but have to admit that a large part of the criticism was justified.

The following week I was given my plan and I decided that I didn't want to work for such an unsupportive company or jump through all the hoops they were expecting me to, so I resigned.

The following day my boss emailed me to accept my resignation and said they would not require me to work my full notice and proposed a leave date in two weeks to give me time to finish a project I'm working on. I emailed back agreeing this date and have since progressed arrangements, cancelling lifts to work, childcare etc.

I have remained professional and continued to work really hard, even doing overtime, despite feeling stressed, humiliated and desperate to just get out of there.

At the end of last week my boss phoned me and said that actually they do need me to work my full notice, that the early leave date was "never formally agreed", and reminded me that I'm "under contract" for a 4 week notice period. They have basically realised that having someone 'incompetent' is better than no one when there are lots of deadlines to meet.

I was caught totally off-guard by the phone call but I don't think I agreed to anything but I will be meeting with my boss tomorrow. What would you do? I don't want to give them any more grounds for giving me a poor reference but really don't think I can cope with the stress and anxiety of working there for another 3 weeks.

OP’s posts: |
PeakingDuck Mon 17-Feb-20 20:29:39

who does references at your place of work?

Sportsnight Mon 17-Feb-20 20:31:33

If you have it in email, I don’t think he or she can refuse to honour it. You have it on writing and you’ve acted accordingly. However, if they insist, you might have to take legal action to get them to abide by it, which would be expensive and time consuming. Is your childcare still available?

BubblingBlancmange Mon 17-Feb-20 20:35:26

It's my boss who will be writing my reference.

I've not yet asked my childminders if they've filled their spaces - really don't want to have to.

OP’s posts: |
BlackAmericanoNoSugar Mon 17-Feb-20 20:38:18

You have it all in writing, fortunately. Your boss himself PROPOSED an early leaving date. That sounds pretty bloody formally agreed to me.

I'm a bit belligerent, so I would go into the meeting with the attitude that it has been agreed and they have a choice. 1. I will work as hard as I can to get everything done and they will let me leave on the agreed date without further discussion. 2. If they continue to be difficult I will work minimum possible hours, do things at a careful rather than speedy pace and still leave on the agreed date and it can be argued about in court afterwards if they so choose.

Save copies of the emails to a safe place now if possible, just in case they get IT to take them off the system and deny they ever existed.

TeaLibrary Mon 17-Feb-20 20:40:56

If you have in writing that they have accepted a shorter notice period than fuck them. I most certainly would not be bending over backwards to finish their shitty project or bust a gut trying to meet their deadlines. If they insist on you staying until the end of the four week notice period can you make a point of slowing down and doing basically not a lot. Do you get paid sick pay. You are clearly feeling stressed and upset, why should you rush around trying to finish the project. If they treated me like that then I would be making sure that the only work I would be doing is job hunting.

melissasummerfield Mon 17-Feb-20 20:43:58

If you have confirmation in writing then thats enough OP.

They can ask you to extend but you dont have to agree. They cant force you to come to work!

They can only legally provide factual information in a reference so I really wouldn’t give that any more thought.

TeaLibrary Mon 17-Feb-20 20:54:34

Most employers these days tend to use factual references only. If they insist on another three weeks of notice can you go off sick until the notice period expires. As someone else said if you have it in writing that the leaving date had been agreed then I would very firmly insist this is honoured, if not then you have the option of either going sick or going to work but only for minimum hours. No overtime and really slow down the pace. Why should they benefit from your hard work if they are obviously trying to manage you out. Put yourself and your best interests first because they won't.

BubblingBlancmange Mon 17-Feb-20 23:33:18

Thanks for the advice everyone. You have given me the confidence to stand my ground and insist that the email does constitute agreement of leave date.

I've been putting such a brave face on at work that I doubt my boss realises how stressful it is to keep working there. I don't owe them anything.

I'll let you know how I get on.

OP’s posts: |
OnTheEdgeOfTheNight Mon 17-Feb-20 23:47:38

Try to print off the email conversation before you meet your boss.
Go into the meeting and say something like "Regarding my leaving date: on ddmm you purposed that my last date would be ddmm, which we agreed on email. Then last week you mentioned that you would like me to stay beyond that date. Unfortunately I won't be able to change my leaving date to the new date that you proposed. "
If there's any nonsense from your boss just say that you think it best for HR to be included in the meeting (or to continue the meeting when someone from HR is available). I wouldn't worry about references etc,as others have said you can redirect a factual reference with dates of employment. From what you've said they may have been trying to manage you out. You need to look after yourself and look to the future.

OnTheEdgeOfTheNight Mon 17-Feb-20 23:48:47

Redirect = expect

daisychain01 Tue 18-Feb-20 17:43:04

I don't recommend you use sick leave as a mechanism for not completing your notice period. Whilst they may be in the wrong going back on their original stance, it really isn't a good look to disappear off sick when you aren't, and from what you've written above, it wouldn't be necessary anyway.

The following day my boss emailed me to accept my resignation and said they would not require me to work my full notice and proposed a leave date in two weeks to give me time to finish a project I'm working on. I emailed back agreeing this date and have since progressed arrangements, cancelling lifts to work, childcare etc.

If you had this exchange via email, your manager doesn't have a leg to stand on. You've moved things forward based on consensus reached about your finish date. Their lack of planning in finding a replacement isn't your problem to solve, not when you confirmed the agreement by email.

BubblingBlancmange Wed 19-Feb-20 20:09:01

A quick update and rant.... So I thought all had been resolved as I pointed out to my boss that as far as I was concerned the email offering me to not work my full notice constituted confirmation of my leave date. However, according to them the original email was 'just a suggestion' and as I have subsequently said I'm not willing to work my full notice, they don't need to pay me.

I'm so cross! It's not just about the money - I feel like they have totally manipulated the situation - it's all so unprofessional.

OP’s posts: |
redexpat Wed 19-Feb-20 20:13:19

Annoying. Onwards and upwards.

daisychain01 Wed 19-Feb-20 20:34:40

I'm confused. When is your final day of work? Are they refusing to pay you up until that final day? They don't have to pay you notice if you don't work it, why would they?

BubblingBlancmange Wed 19-Feb-20 20:51:36

daisychain01 They are paying for the time I have worked, but the employer does have to pay the full leave period if they tell the employee they are not required to work. I think it's often called 'gardening leave'.

I can only assume my boss didn't realise this which is why they eventually retracted the offer and said they did require me to work. Obviously if the employee refuses to work, they don't have to pay them which is why they've put me in a position where I've been forced to say I can't work.

OP’s posts: |
melissasummerfield Wed 19-Feb-20 21:19:35

You agreed a leave date, that means as of that date you cease to be an employee - you can’t have it both ways OP!

milienhaus Wed 19-Feb-20 21:26:19

I wouldn’t have assumed gardening leave from your description of the email - that would normally be fully spelled out and is usually only for cases where you leave to go to a competitor and they don’t want you taking information away with you. I would assume you were released from your contract early and therefore of course wouldn’t be paid after your leave date - this is pretty normal. Sounds like a case of crossed wires.

BubblingBlancmange Wed 19-Feb-20 22:11:44

Maybe 'Gardening Leave' isn't correct in my situation, but the words were "we don't require you to work your full notice period"... "so your last day would be..." so I assumed they would still pay me.

Anyway, like you say milienhaus, it probably is just crossed wires (and my boss's incompetence!) and I should concentrate on moving on with my life .

OP’s posts: |
daisychain01 Thu 20-Feb-20 03:31:50

Now that you've given a bit more insight, OP, I can kinda see where you're coming from, but what threw me was that upthread you made it sound like you couldn't wait to get outa there, and when your employer confirmed they didn't need you to work your whole notice period, you welcomed the opportunity to get out sooner and hence confirmed that in writing.

Had you said in the email, no I'm sorry I don't accept you trying to push me out the door sooner and I wish to remain in post for my contractual notice period, that would have forced them to have to pay you the entire notice even if they didn't want you sitting at your desk. That would have been when "Garden Leave" would have been relevant.

AlwaysCheddar Fri 21-Feb-20 13:34:04

you need to speak to ACAS as you're not getting gardening leave - this would usually be paid notice.

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