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Can an employer sue me?

Work Permits, Employment Qualifications, Employer Problems
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Can an employer sue me?

Postby tylan » 19 May 2016, 12:21

I work for a horrible person. I don't want to work for her anymore. I have her a three month notice, but I don't think I can't wait any longer. She says she's going to sue me for not finishing a contact. Is that legal? Can she really do this?
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Re: Can an employer sue me?

Postby yyy » 19 May 2016, 16:09

tylan wrote:I work for a horrible person. I don't want to work for her anymore. I have her a three month notice, but I don't think I can't wait any longer. She says she's going to sue me for not finishing a contact. Is that legal? Can she really do this?

If your job is subject to the Labor Standards Act, just look through the Act to find a violation you can prove (holidays, overtime, etc.). Once you've found one, choose the best day to quit and give immediate notice citing Art. 14 (noting the 30 day time limit for general violations). The details can be confusing, but your local labor department or branch of the Legal Aid Foundation can provide free legal advice. (At the labor department, ask specifically to see a lawyer.)

If you do it this way, your employer must pay severance pay within 30 days of termination, tax free. :)
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Re: Can an employer sue me?

Postby Abacus » 19 May 2016, 23:39

First of all - Is there a clause in your contract with an agreed upon penalty for ending the contract early? If there isn't then all you have to do is give reasonable notice (less than 3 months) and you can walk away.
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Re: Can an employer sue me?

Postby tylan » 20 May 2016, 08:42

Thanks guys. It's not even a written contract. It's oral. But she's adamant about sueing. My lawyer says I should stay for the five weeks to have legal standing, but if she doesn't have a legal ground to stand on, I really can't bear it.
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Re: Can an employer sue me?

Postby yyy » 20 May 2016, 11:41

tylan wrote:Thanks guys. It's not even a written contract. It's oral. But she's adamant about sueing. My lawyer says I should stay for the five weeks to have legal standing, but if she doesn't have a legal ground to stand on, I really can't bear it.

Whether a contract is written or oral makes no difference, if the two parties agree on the content of the contract. If they disagree, they can call witnesses.

If there's no breach penalty in the contract, she needs to prove your early departure harmed her via you being "negligent", and that's assuming you can't prove you had a valid reason to leave. She probably won't get anywhere.

There is another question: do you have open work rights? If you've been working illegally, alerting the authorities could be dangerous to you (fine + deportation) and the employer (fine + prison sentence).
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Re: Can an employer sue me?

Postby Dragonbones » 20 May 2016, 11:47

@OP: Yes. Anyone can sue anything for anything. The question is, does she have legal grounds to win the suit?
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Re: Can an employer sue me?

Postby Abacus » 20 May 2016, 12:06

tylan wrote:Thanks guys. It's not even a written contract. It's oral. But she's adamant about sueing. My lawyer says I should stay for the five weeks to have legal standing, but if she doesn't have a legal ground to stand on, I really can't bear it.


My question was whether or not a leaving contract early penalty fee was agreed upon orally. There is nothing in the labor law that says an employee must pay a fee to leave a contract. It does directly say that an employer must allow an employee to leave a contract early though. If you agreed to a penalty then you would have to pay that but they can't deduct that from your paycheck.

But are you even working legally? Do you have a work permit, ARC, NHI, resident visa and everything else? If you aren't working legally then your employer likely has no way to sue you.
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Re: Can an employer sue me?

Postby yyy » 20 May 2016, 12:29

Abacus wrote:There is nothing in the labor law that says an employee must pay a fee to leave a contract. It does directly say that an employer must allow an employee to leave a contract early though. If you agreed to a penalty then you would have to pay that but they can't deduct that from your paycheck.

In the Labor Standards Act (Art. 15), it says you have the right to leave a non-fixed term contract with notice (10 to 30 days depending on how long you've worked, or 0 days if less than 3 months) or a fixed term contract after 3 years with 30 days' notice. (Again, this is only if you can't prove a violation as in Art. 14.)

The Civil Code still applies when the LSA applies (though any conditions in the LSA more favorable to the employee override the CC), and of course it also applies when the LSA doesn't, unless the relationship is not employment (i.e. it's independent contracting of one sort or another).

Civil Code Art. 488
If the duration of hire of services is fixed, the contract of hire of services terminates with the end of that duration.
If the duration of hire of services is not fixed or can not be fixed in accordance with the nature or purpose of services, either party may terminate the contract at any time, however, if customs is in favor of the employee, such customs shall be followed.
僱傭定有期限者,其僱傭關係,於期限屆滿時消滅。 僱傭未定期限,亦不能依勞務之性質或目的定其期限者,各當事人得隨時 終止契約。但有利於受僱人之習慣者,從其習慣。
Civil Code Art. 489
Even though the duration of the hire of services has been agreed upon, either party may, in the event of any serious occurrence, terminate the contract before the end of such duration.
If the occurrence as specified in the preceding paragraph be due to the negligence of one of the parties, the other party may demand for the injury from him.
當事人之一方,遇有重大事由,其僱傭契約,縱定有期限,仍得於期限屆 滿前終止之。 前項事由,如因當事人一方之過失而生者,他方得向其請求損害賠償。

So the possibility of the employer winning compensation still exists, though I'm not familiar with any cases like this. If it's easy to prove the employer has been committing violations left and right, the employee should have nothing to worry about, unless working illegally.
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Re: Can an employer sue me?

Postby Abacus » 20 May 2016, 14:11

Are you saying that the employer and employee can't agree to a penalty for an employee initiated early termination of a contract? It is bullshit but there is nothing in the labor law that prevents additional agreements that do not directly go against the labor law. The only part that even mentions it is that these penalties can't automatically be deducted from the employee's paycheck.
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Re: Can an employer sue me?

Postby yyy » 20 May 2016, 15:08

Abacus wrote:Are you saying that the employer and employee can't agree to a penalty for an employee initiated early termination of a contract? It is bullshit but there is nothing in the labor law that prevents additional agreements that do not directly go against the labor law. The only part that even mentions it is that these penalties can't automatically be deducted from the employee's paycheck.

I'm saying it's still possible even if it isn't in the contract. A contract is supposed to contain x and y, but if y is absent, the whole body of the law still applies, and in the whole body of the law there is room for a lawsuit on the basis of "compensation for injury" (損害賠償) even when a penalty for whichever injury has not been contractually agreed in advance. As the employer, you would argue the employee "injured" you by leaving before the end of the contractually agreed period and without a valid reason (LSA Art. 14 or 15, or the Civil Code).

Again, I know of no such case in Taiwan as what we're talking about here; I'm just saying it's not impossible. (If anyone knows of a judgement or official interpretation to refute this, please share.)

You're right that the LSA prohibits advance deduction of a breach penalty, i.e. the employer needs to win the lawsuit before receiving the compensation.
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