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I want to quit my job that I verbally accepted. Am I obligated to stay with my company or can I get my severance and leave?

Memphis, TN |

I have a fully executed severance contract. I was later offered an ongoing position. I verbally accepted and have emails negotiating the position with the company's CFO. No formal paperwork superseding the severance arrangement has been done although verbally many people know I planned to stay. I also received a raise for accepting the offer verbally. In 30 days everyone in my department (aside from the former controller) will be gone and I cannot handle the workload and feel I'm being setup for failure. There were 6 of us doing finance/accounting and I will be the only person left and only 2 duties have been scheduled for transfer to the new team. I work 10-13 hours per day and cannot continue. I want to get my severance and leave in May as is documented. Can I do this legally?

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Attorney answers 1


In short, you can leave. You may or may not get severance and you may or may not have other issues.

Generally employment in Tennessee is "at will". This means either the employee may quit at any time or the employer mar terminate the employee at any time. This can be for almost any reason.

Some employment is under a contract. The employee agrees to work for a certain time and the employer agrees to continue the employment for a certain time. In this case, if the employee quits before the time is up, which they can do, they old be sued by the employer for breaching the contract.

As far as severance. Generally an employer is not required to provide severance. If you have an agreement, it will depend on the terms of your severance agreement.

You should probably find an attorney to review your agreement to verify if you will be in breach of any terms and if you will be entitled to severance should you leave in May.

This answer does not constitute legal advice nor form an attorney client relationship. I am not your lawyer. If you have a legal issue in Tennessee you may contact me for a free consult.