Employment Questions

Can my boss fire me after I give notice?

Additional Information:

I have been at my job here in Marlborough MA for 4 years and am planning to move to Florida in a few months.  It seems like the right thing to do to give enough notice to my boss that I’ll be leaving so they can hire someone else and I can help get the new person trained but I’m afraid they’ll fire me and then I’ll be without a job until I move.  Is it legal for them to fire me after I give notice?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

If you do not have an employment contract with your employer, the general rule, subject to many exceptions, is that an employer can fire you for any reason or no reason, with or without notice.  If none of the exceptions to the at-will employment rule apply in your case (for example illegal discrimination), then you might be able to get a sense as to whether they will immediately let you go by finding out how other employees have been treated who gave notice in the past.   Many legitimate reasons exist for an employer to terminate an employee immediately once they give their notice so that fear is reasonable.  However, many employers will appreciate the advanced notice and will not immediately terminate you even though they could because they will want your assistance training your replacement.

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Is it legal for my employer to take unauthorized deduction from my paycheck?

Additional Information:

I was involved in a minor car accident in Framingham MA while driving the company car.  I’m sure there were dents and scrapes on the bumper before my accident.  Is it legal for my employer to take an unauthorized deduction from my paycheck for cover the damages?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

This question recently stumped a MA Superior Court judge, who thought that if the employer had a written policy, and the employee could avoid discipline by accepting the wage withholding, that a wage deduction was  legal.  The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, and said that the employer must pay the wages, that no setoff as that term has been interpreted applied, and therefore a deduction for wages was illegal.  The court did not doubt that the employer was following established procedures, that the accident could very well have been the employees fault, and that an employee may be liable to his or her employer for that employee’s negligence.  The employer may not, however reduce wages as a result.  The employer was ordered to pay the employee back the amount withheld, and was assessed a fine.

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