Do I have to perform duties that are not part of my job description?

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Do I have to perform duties that are not part of my job description?

The company I work for was recently purchased. It’s currently tied up in FTC approval but is expected to be approved in the next month or so. We have had contact with the acquiring company and they have asked me to stay on to help with the transition. They are estimating a 2-4 month assignment. They have offered an insignificant retention bonus but would be paid out 11 weeks severance at the end of the assignment based on tenure. I’d prefer to leave immediately after the deal closes and receive my severance. The assignment they would like me to stay on for annual budget is no longer part of my job description but something I did several years ago. I’m wondering if I can refuse to assist based on my current job description and make the argument that they are eliminating my current position and are not interested in my continuing the project I’m currently assigned to which would trigger the immediate payment of the severance? Would this be considered the elimination of my current position or would they have cause to release me and not pay severance?

Asked on February 8, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

First of all, absent a union agreement or employment contract to the contrary, you are an "at will" worker. This means that your company can terminate your employment for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. Additionally, severance pay is not legally mandated. Therefore to the extent that your employer chooses to provide it, it has a great deal of discretion over when or, even if, it is paid. Bottom line, your company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit so long as no form of legally actionable discrimination is involved. 


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