• Notice period ambiguity

Dear Sir,

I worked in an organisation for 2 months and then left the company. The company has stated that the company can terminate an employee within this period without any notice.

These are the two clauses mentioned in the same appointment letter: 

1)	Probation:
 You shall be on a probation period of 3 months (“Probation Period”). Your performance will be reviewed at regular intervals during the probation period . Depending on the outcome of such evaluations, *** (company name) may , at its sole discretion , either (a) if your performance is found to be satisfactory, confirm your appointment; or (b) if your performance is found to be unsatisfactory, the company may, at its sole discretion, extend the probationary period for a further period of 3 more months (only in writing) or terminate your employment with *** (company name) with immediate effect and without any notice, with no further liabilities to ***(company name), expect for remuneration up to the date of termination of employment .

One page later there is another clause:

2)	Termination of Employment:
 This agreement will be terminable by either party by giving one month’s written notice (exclusive of any leaves availed during the period) or payment of one month salary in lieu of such notice period to the other party . *** (Company name) holds the right to accept or deny payment in lieu of the said one month notice.

My issue : I did not serve the notice period as I thought I was in probation period and the company asking for a months salary . Beside the company too did not inform me on the last working day.
 I thought the second part was applicable after probation. Also in the second part it says “This agreement” which also includes the probation clause thus ambiguity over which clause remains effective.
Asked 7 years ago in Labour

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4 Answers

This clause " This agreement will be terminable by either party ...................holds the right to accept or deny payment in lieu of the said one month notice............" is void in the eyes of law according to the rule of harmonious interpretation.

both condition like 1. giving one months' notice or one month salary in lieu of above and 2. discretion to refuse such salary

you have done right and you can challenge this clause in the court.

Shivendra Pratap Singh
Advocate, Lucknow
5127 Answers
78 Consultations

4.9 on 5.0

1. Since you left the company within 2 months your probation period was not over yet and hence you left before your job was confirmed.

2. In that event the one month notice period does not apply nor are liable to make any penal payment.

3. The ambiguity in the clause no.1 and 3 , if any, would work in favour of the employee.

4. Moreover in the context of ambiguity of language the rule of harmonious construction applies which gives logical conclusion of what I commented above.

Devajyoti Barman
Advocate, Kolkata
22920 Answers
498 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

1) you are required to give one month notice

2) in event of failure to give notice you are required to pay one month salary

Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
95215 Answers
7611 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

Have you resigned during probation period? If so the second clause, in my opinion, may be applicable to your case.

Did the company demand notice period compensation? You may quote the first clause in your reply.

Take the assistance of a lawyer to draft the reply.

T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
85416 Answers
2239 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

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