Put in my notice but they let me go before I said I’d leave

When I left my last job a few years ago, I gave a notice letter. I was in the middle of a survey. When I got back into the office in the morning, all of the passwords were changed on my computer. I still had to write my report. Now, I get in to the office very early as a rule, largely to avoid Houston traffic, but also for the quiet time in my office. Well, I did the only thing I could think of. I went back home. Wrote the report and emailed the draft on my personal email. Grabbed some boxes and went back to the office. When I got there, the office manager told me that she needed a list of my open files and details. I told her that there was a spreadsheet that I could print for her, but I would need access to my computer. . .she turned around in a huff. . .our IT guy gave me a temporary password. I printed it out, packed my stuff and left. Oh, but they did pay me for two more weeks… . . .

To the OP, you really over estimated the ethics & professionalism of your former employer & that mistake is solely on you. Good luck on getting any more money from that company & IMO it will never happen. From my experiences & from what I’ve heard from others, many companies would have done the same as yours, even the smaller mom & pop’s if they can find a replacement. I guess companies figure they should operate & crew their vessels on their own schedule & not on the schedule of a guy who might or might not be leaving in a couple of months. Mariners should do likewise with our personal affairs & plan to submit resignation letters in a timeframe where it isn’t likely to interrupt our income flow if we are let go on the spot. I didn’t submit my last resignation letter until I was in the orientation class at my current employer which gave my last HR manager 2 weeks to find a replacement. But I did tell my relief 2 months in advance that I had another job lined up so he could plan the best he could.

On the other side of coin, I’ve worked with dozens of guys who were constantly 2-3 months away from getting a bigger, better paying job somewhere else. After hearing, “I really don’t care because this is my last hitch.” for a year I would have been happy if HR mailed them a pink slip prematurely just to get it over with.

When a shit company, like Hornbeck or Bouchard, shits on their mariners, like they frequently do, I can see why they might need to worry about theft or sabotage. If you shit on enough people often enough, eventually someone is going to go nuts.

There are certain types of employees, at certain types of companies, with access to confidential or sensitive information, that may need to be escorted from the building when they give notice, but that type of firing upon giving notice ought to be the exception not the rule.

I mostly work for decent people at decent companies.They expect and appreciate reasonable notice. They generally tell me when a lay-off is coming, but it’s usually obvious. Sometimes it happens without notice.

Last year I made a trip for a halfass little company on a halfass boat, with the expectation that I’d make another trip. I told them during the first trip that they’d better find someone else to make the next trip because I wasn’t going to do it. One of the owners pulled an attitude and the communications got progressively hostile. On arrival he wanted me off the boat in 5 minutes. I won’t be giving notice again in that type of situation.

Years ago my boss ashore told me remember one thing, once that check clears the slate is clean. It doesn’t matter how many years you have or how many attaboys you got. I should add that he was a great person to work for, and loyal to a fault to those under him.

Once you give a resignation notice you immediately become a liability to the company.

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What? Liability?

The company is lucky to have this proven guy still doing a good job for them, and giving them time to find a good replacement.

Oh. This shit company thinks all its employees are a bunch of identical worthless assholes, and that they can just pick another one off the top of the resume bin, or hire the next guy that walks through the door. This must be a bayou mafia company.

I would think a person who is going to quit in 2 or 3 months would be more likely to sue their employer compared to employees who plan to stick around for the long haul? That’s a liability. Also, some companies & companies within the same industry are very competitive with one another. Having an employee who has already signed up with your competitor, managing & maintaining your equipment, being privy to sensitive company emails, policies, contracts & screwups could be seen as a liability as well.

I’m not saying what this guys former employer did was ethical or professional. I’m just saying when doing business with a company or someone it is best to picture the negotiation from the other side of the table & plan for the worst case scenario. I like my current employer but I won’t be giving them a heads up about me quitting until I’m earning income from somewhere else.


I really don’t get this.

I have an extremely “interesting” employment history, and have left in a fury once or twice. The worst I ever did was giving notice with my bags already packed and ready to go, leaving The Man to find a replacement in a third world shit hole, and in that instance I did get accused of all manner of theft and sabotage. If I really wanted to hurt him, I would have placed the charges or hidden the contraband on board before letting him know what was afoot, and this logic seems so obvious to me that it’s just baffling that someone would think otherwise. When you give advance notice, you are extending your professional courtesy as a sign of continued good will, and punishing such behavior is purely counter productive. I have given advance notice of leaving a few times, and the usual response is to offer me more money.

Maybe it’s a cultural thing?


Its not that unusual. What does the company’s policy state? If there is or isn’t one, that should certainly be subject matter during the hiring process. No policy, no obligation to give notice by either party. Chances are, if there is redundancy and you put in notice, you will be shown the door. My current company requires 28 days notice to receive your RCUs and to be eligible for rehire. My last company of 17 years, I gave no notice - no obligation to do so. Just an email to Gary Chouest and he thanked me and said the door was open if I changed my mind in the future. Two years later, they called me back for an opportunity, but I wasn’t interested.

(Agree as well with the liability statements above)

It’s always been a good idea to not leave a job until you have a job. In the past, I have told new employers that I would like to offer my previous employer 2 weeks notice… but if I am available earlier… can I start earlier? Otherwise, in the situation where I have weeks off…already built in my schedule… I would give notice as i am leaving… proximate to my last day so that if the company required any exit processes that I could possibly do them then… vs coming back.

I think that the underlying sentiment behind sending people home immediately is that they are leaving your employment “for a reason” and having someone on your boat that isn’t interested in being there…well that has some risk. Yeah… not everyone would do something or be careless… but in this day and time, I imagine the lawyers are pushing for reducing any risk at all. I still think offering some notice when it is not putting you in a financial bind is good… IE you are giving notice of 2 weeks as you leave for your 2 weeks off the boat. But, always keep in mind if your employer decides you are no longer needed… they are unlikely to compensate you or give you notice… so act accordingly.


Well it depends. On where you were working and what the contract terms are.
Union?non Union? Obviously Union. They don’t pull shit like this because the Union would file a grievance.
So if it was a Union job. First action call the Union.

If non union again depends where, who and the contract.

Read the contract. Most contracts give some kind of protection to both sides for reasonable notice of termination of the contract.

Where matters? Employment laws vary. Most jurisdictions have rules regarding unfair dismissal.
If you are non union you may still get some help or advice if you have been keeping up associates dues to a union. So if you have contact them.
If not. It depends where. Unfortunately I could give some suggestions regarding Canada and the Provincial or Federal Labour board. but I am not familiar with US.
A labour board will usually have a system to help a non union employee file an unfair dismissal claim.
So if you are covered by a labour board contact it ask for advice.

If you are working foreigne flag. Contact ITF. They will help. They help crews of foreigne flag ships quite regularly. The local rep may not be able to do it himself but he will know the right local labour lawyers who might be able to help.

The company may have the opinion, big deal.
It’s quite common in some industries to not even let a employee who gives notice back in the building. Again big deal the company still pays the notice. Paying an employ in Lui of notice is the companies choice.

Not paying the employee for the minimum required notice is a breach of most contracts and most civilized countries labor laws.
Of course many US right to work states might not be considered civilized by some.

One thing about the US. Law suits are a way of life.

If the company breached a contract. Sue

From a company point of view, when a replacement employee is found it makes sense to ‘lock him in’ by hiring him and getting him to work as soon as possible or else that person may accept another job elsewhere. This reality is true in any business.

Why should the new guy wait at home without a paycheck so the outgoing guy can collect his? Why should a business value someone who will be gone soon over someone who will not be gone?

Two weeks notice is a courtesy the employee gives the company so he can leave with a good impression for a future rehire or recommendation or to ward off ex-employer revenge. It’s not a right of either party (unless contractually mandated). It’s just good manners.


I think many US boat companies, or at least the kind that immediately fire people for giving notice, would not pay anything after the termination date. Nor would they pay travel. Plus, if you claimed unemployment , they would fight that too.

The small mom and pop companies often treat mariners fairly well, as do the union companies.

Damn near all US companies give Holiday pay for Christmas and major holidays, even boat companies pay it for their shoreside staff, but most boat companies (even otherwise good companies) will not pay any Holidays for mariners.

There are quite a few small boat companies that provide insurance for shoreside staff, but not for their mariners.

Any shoreside company that requires an employee to travel for the job is required to pay the employee for travel time and travel costs. My guess is that most boat companies will not pay for travel time and most won’t pay for anything other than airfare, if that.

Most shoreside companies pay for required training, including full salary , but most boat companies won’t.

It’s really strange how mariners are treated as “second class employees” by most companies.


Scheduled time off is plenty of time for any employer to find a replacement in this business. It doesnt make any sense to put in notice any other way; the timing meets all criteria in terms of proper notice. Why give an employer the chance to act a certain way – contrary to your liking? Just for the sake of it, to say how bad they are, or to unvoluntarily get sent home a week or two before you planned? Makes absolutely no sense to me. I dont know of many that quit while on the vessel (minus a red ass moment), only planned retirements…which become known months in advance.

Paid holidays, bonuses, dollar for dollar match went away with the down turn.


That’s why I think I’m gonna just start giving a 12 month notice.


^^^^ This guy is right.


In the US most states have laws which cover this very subject. If you do not know the laws under which you are taking employment that is on you. Visit your state labor board in many cases they will prosecute on your behalf… know before you go…