The State of California is known as an “at will” state, which means that employees can be terminated at any time with or without just cause. Usually, such employment decisions are handled by the employers’ Human Resources departments. Despite the “at will” status of employees, some employer-employee relationships are bound by contracts.
That being said, termination of employees, regardless if the employee is considered at-will or contracted, should be in adherence with the prevailing employment and labor laws of the state, so it is a must that you make sure that your employer meets and follows these laws.
One of the things that you must know as an employee is how termination should go down. If you are an at will employee, you must make sure that the reason for your termination is not based on any discrimination or retaliation. If you are a contracted worker, on the other hand, your termination must only be based on your failure to follow certain provisions set forth in your contract.
Also, you must make sure that your employer gives you important documentation showing the reason why you were fired. This should include any behavior that caused your termination, as well as prior warnings you’ve incurred as regards to your behavior. For reference, your employer will record your termination into your work history file.
Under the existing California employment and labor laws, you are entitled to all wages due to you. These include all your hours worked, as well as paid vacation leaves you did not use. All of these must be paid to you during your termination date and not on the next scheduled pay date.
Although some employers follow these very basic procedures in terminating an employee, some others take advantage of the latter’s “at will” status, or illegally terminate the latter even though a contract between them exists. In this regard, the prevailing employment and labor laws in California also provide the necessary protections for employees who have become victims of wrongful discharge by their employers.
If you have been subjected to such, then you must first air your complaint with the human resources department of your company. If your company does not address your grievances, then it is a must that you file a complaint with the appropriate agency. Better yet, you may seek the expertise of a Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyer.