What are my rights when terminate my at will employment?

UPDATED: Oct 16, 2011

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What are my rights when terminate my at will employment?

I am currently employed by a security company as a at-will-employee and have worked at a hotel as a security officer. Over the course of a year, their client (the hotel) has come to appreciate my work and has offered me a position working at the front desk. When I passed the 2 interviews and knew that I was chosen, I felt that a 2 week notice was then called for. Today I mentioned that I wanted to speak with my manager on Monday but apparently the branch and operations managers already caught wind of my decision. They referred to my actions as “backdooring” and the operations manager stated that the branch manager can terminate my chance to even begin my new position if he so pleases. The operations manger then told me that the first thing I should have done was speak to them about my interest for the position. In a sense it sounded like I had to ask them permission to make any choice involving my welfare and growth. I had no idea that I had done anything wrong or unlawful. I definitely feels harassed by the way they choose to handle the matter. The operations manger has now threatened to leave me jobless. I wanted to end my employment peacefully and even train other guards to take over the position. The hotel has already begun to process the paperwork and I will be taking a drug test tomorrow.

Asked on October 16, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unless you signed a contract requiring you to give notice of seeking a new job, restricting you applying for work with a client of the security firm, etc., you have an absolutely right to do what you did.

The security company can terminate you immediately, if they wish. They could even talk to the hotel and try to get the hotel to rescind the job offer--employers, or anyone, are allowed to do that,and can ask another person or business to not hire someone. But if that happens, you may have legal recourse against the hotel and force them to honor the offer on the grounds that in reasonable reliance on their representation that you were getting the job, you took action to your detriment (turned in your notice), which action was reasonably foreseeable (could be expected); those circumstances can often make a promise, such as of a new job, binding. Of course, if you get the new job, you don't need to do anything; but if you don't, you  may wish to speak with an employment law attorney about your rights and options.

If your current employer defames you to anyone, you may have a cause of action, or lawsuit, against them. Defamation is the making of untrue factual statements about a person, which damages damages his or her reputation or makes others not want to work with him or her.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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