Employment contracts can be tricky, especially when you want to cancel one. When you really need a job, you may be inclined to sign almost anything. To protect workers, employment law prohibits certain language in contracts. At the same time, the document may contain provisions that could create liability problems if you break the contract. Be sure you understand what the document says about ending employment before you give notice.
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Look for a provision that allows either party to terminate the contract at will, at any time. If there is no such option, you may still be able to cancel the contract without any problems.
Make sure you give the appropriate amount of notice time, especially if the contract requires it. Two weeks' notice is customary, but the contract may ask for more time.
Have the contract reviewed by an attorney and ask him or her to explain any provisions that aren't clear. If you don't have a lawyer, a local bar association may provide referrals for attorneys specialising in employment law.
Ask your attorney about restrictive covenants in the contract regarding where you can work or what you can do in your next job. Have him explain, in clear terms, what liabilities and consequences apply to breaking the contract.
Pay back any bonus or relocation money. This is a show of good faith. Many restrictive covenants involve outlays of money by the employer.
Discuss the situation with your manager. Explain why you've decided to cancel the contract. If salary is the primary consideration, you might get a counteroffer.
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