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We often close questions with the reason

"Questions seeking advice on company-specific regulations, agreements, or policies should be directed to your manager or HR department. Questions that address only a specific company or position are of limited use to future visitors. Questions seeking legal advice should be directed to legal professionals. For more information, click here."

But there is problem with this -- since the heart of the employer-employee relationship is a legal contract, and every company is different, this close reason can be applied to all questions.

In the case of Can I be sued for leaving with proper notice in the UK?, the OP is asking a fairly general legal question, with wide applicability to readers of Workplace. The answer is something that all responsible employees would want to know. "If I comply with the notice requirements of my jurisdiction [country, province, etc.], can I have any additional liability?"

After reading the Workplace for a couple of years, I still don't understand why some questions get closed with this reason. Furthermore, by combining two reasons into an omnibus close, it makes it even more confusing.

Can we improve question closing by splitting up this "reason" into its two unrelated reasons?

Can we separate general legal questions from the more specific ones that are not useful to readers in the future?

Added later:

After reflecting on my question, I suspect that there is a difference in perspective between those who work in at-will jurisdictions and those who don't. When reviewing related meta-questions, I can see a pattern. If a person seems to work in a at-will jurisdiction, they are much more likely to favour a strict interpretation of this rule. Legally, it is simpler there - all one has to say is "You're fired" or "I quit". Where I work, if I quit with no notice, I can be sued, even without a contract document. When I quit my job at McDonalds at age 19, I didn't have to hire a lawyer to determine how much notice to provide - I just relied on the "common knowledge" about the provincial labour code on required notice.

All workplaces are governed by labour regulations and the contractual obligations of its participants, which make all Workplace questions legal questions, ultimately.

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    Keep in mind that voting is different on meta. – Lilienthal Jun 3 '16 at 10:53
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    Anyhow, technically it is not possible to split this reason up. Sites only get a few custom close reasons and choices have to be made. This has been brought up on meta quite a few times before. – Lilienthal Jun 3 '16 at 10:54
  • Voting to close - too opinionated. – Resigned Jun 6 '16 at 16:08
  • Strange, in regards to that question, it is obvious without needing a lawyer that the company cannot sue you for leaving with appropriate notice and then blame you for the company closing. A simple answer to that would be, "by the UK general standards of employment, as an employee and not partner/ director, X Y Z..." ...No fine-toothed legal inspection required. Colour me confused overall. – SaltySub2 Aug 20 '18 at 9:01
  • @SaltySub I think my 'Added later' section explains the opinions of our American cousins. Because they work in 'at-will' jurisdictions, any legal question whose answer is more complicated than 'they can fire you any time, you have no rights' tends to get a close vote. – Resigned Aug 21 '18 at 14:02
  • @Resigned Actually 'at-will' US jurisdictions can be even more complicated than UK, Australia non-'at-will' jurisdictions. Because employers (not so much employees) can be sued for unrightful dismissal, for example... that's why companies will do retrenchments ('layoffs') as opposed walking up to a single person, saying, 'you're fired'! In some Asian countries it gets even weirder, both the employee or employer, if they don't want to serve the notice period the party has to pay the other party 'wages in lieu'. So I guess closing the question in light of jurisdictions is fair enough LOL. – SaltySub2 Aug 22 '18 at 9:39
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Most questions on The Workplace don't ask direct legal questions but instead seek answers to problems in the workplace that don't necessarily involve expertise from a lawyer. A good litmus test is if a question can be answered by someone with experience in the workplace, then it is more likely to be a good fit than a question where a person asks a direct legal question.

Asking whether or not an employer has legal ground to sue involves examining the contract, which is outside the job description and skillset of a workplace employee. This type of question requires a lawyer to answer.

The original question could possibly be edited to focus on something slightly different, like what steps to take to decline an already-accepted job or to delay beginning the work. None of this involves direct questions of legality and also should attract answers that involve working with the new employer to come to an agreement that works for everyone and which won't involve anyone wanting to sue anyone else. In short, avoid asking for direct legal advice and instead focus the question on solving the problem. Hope this helps.

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  • While the original question could have been edited, it creates a bias in the answers. Your suggestion assumes that it is up to the OP to solve the first employer's problem. He is already providing that employer with plenty of notice - he's from the UK - where long notice periods are required. To be a good answer, it isn't necessary to suggest placating an unreasonable person. – Resigned Jun 3 '16 at 16:42
  • @user19474 If you want to argue against a close reason for a specific question please don't try to smokescreen that by suggesting there is a general problem with this site's close templates. – Lilienthal Jun 4 '16 at 14:35
  • @Lilienthal No smokescreen. It's just that arguing abstractions tends to go nowhere. However, I have become convinced that I shall not be doing any convincing here, so the matter can rest. – Resigned Jun 6 '16 at 16:06
  • @Resigned - That was just an example I came up with on the fly. If you can think of a better way to edit the question to remove the questions of legality and help make it an on-topic question, I encourage you to do so. It would help the OP, as well as anyone else who may come upon that post who has a similar question. Hope this helps clarify. – jmort253 Jun 7 '16 at 9:29

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