Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Basics of Employment Termination Laws in California

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Just like any other U.S. state, employment in California is regarded as “at will.” This means than an employer can terminate or layoff an employee at any time with or without any reason at all. On the flipside, an employee can quit a job at any time he or she wants without providing any notice to the employer.

However, many employers of California employees have been governed by employment contracts signed by both parties, rendering the “at-will” approach in employment useless. The same can be said on collective bargaining agreements, in which stipulations on notices and conditions for termination are followed.

Basically, employment termination laws in California are handled by the state’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement or DLSE. Said state agency is responsible for enforcing laws on both final and vacation pay in light of terminations.

Aside from that, the DLSE is also responsible for protecting employees who were terminated wrongfully for engaging in a protected activity, including jury participation, DLSE complaint filing, and providing subsequent testimonies in relation to the filing.

DLSE’s jurisdiction, however, does not cover collective bargaining agreements which may have terms for termination. Moreover, if the employer terminates an employee in a discriminatory manner and in the process violating the provisions of the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), the latter should contact the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and lodge a formal complaint.

Aside from seeking help from the DFEH, an employee who was terminated wrongfully in an “at-will” setting should seek the services of an able employment attorney in California. “At-will” employment in California has its own exceptions, and an employer who violates such exceptions will likely face an employment lawsuit.

For example, an employer cannot terminate an employee just because the latter refused to break the law at the employer’s request. It is called a public policy exception. Likewise, an implied contract exception prohibits an “at-will” employer to terminate an employee if there is an implied contract formed between the two parties.

To know better about the employment termination laws in California, an employee must consult with a Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer. This way, he or she will be informed as to the governing rules concerning at-will employment.


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