Consultation: “My Company Is Threatening To Sue Me For Not Giving Them As Much Notice As They Want!”

Feb 3, 2019

(content edited for brevity and privacy) 

line break

If it’s the first employment contract with an employer, then the wording of the contract (and, in this case, the termination clause) generally needs to be followed (providing the clause isn’t extortionately unreasonable).

This is due to an outstanding conflict between contract law and labor law.

From the second contract onwards, an employee can give two weeks of notice no matter what the wording of a contract’s termination clause claims.

Contract law generally takes precedence during the first contract, while labor law takes precedence from the second contract and onwards.

What this means for you as a first-year employee is that they do have grounds to sue you for breech of contract should you adhere to your thirty-days of notice and not the six-weeks of notice that they want from you.

This essentially leaves you with two options:

1) Give them the full six weeks of notice (or until the end of your current contract, whichever comes first).

2) Call their bluff.

Should the employer actually decided to go ahead with their plans to sue you, it would likely somewhere in the region of (at least) ¥500,000 in legal fees to even get the ball rolling, so it’s unlikely (but not impossible) that they’d be willing to spend that much money over you resigning two weeks earlier than the contract states.

If they did still decide to take you to court, in addition to that expense, they would also have to prove that they suffered financial hardship / losses as a result of you earlier-than-desired resignation.

That’s very difficult to prove.

On the other hand, instead of going to court, they may just decide to withhold your final salary as a “penalty”.

This is, of course, illegal – but you’d have to go to a labor standards inspection office (LSO) to get that money back, and that could take several months of time and effort before the fees were reversed (and, even then, the company might still refuse to return the money even if ordered to by the LSO).

A third option might be to ask a doctor to support your anxiety / stress claims as proof of early resignation on medical grounds, but we couldn’t help you with that.

If employment conditions are bad enough that they’ve caused the anxiety (etc) to begin with (or illegal), you could also leverage that against them in a tit-for-tat kind of way – but it’s not something we would recommend per se unless you have a union acting on your behalf.

If you’d already been a member then this would have been something we might have been able to get involved with more directly, but hopefully this information will still be able to help you make an informed decision.

line break

Consultations for non-members such as this are only possible thanks to the continued support of our dues-paying members.

Even so, due to the substantial amount of time, effort, and research that many complicated consultation requests demand, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to answer all inquiries from non-members — we simply receive too many requests to handle.

Before contacting us for basic information, please be aware that many of the questions that the General Union receives can often already be found on our website: