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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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My employer didnt fire one of my co-workers for committing

Customer Question

My employer didn't fire one of my co-workers for committing rx fraud in the office using my name to call it in. I recently sent several mean e-mails to my ex-boyfriend. This include comments about his Mom. Now she's trying to get me fired. I've been there 11 years. If they didn't fire my co-worker, for a felony. Can they fire me just for derogatory e-mails?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your question. After reading my answer, please do not hesitate to reply if you have additional questions or need more information.

 

Unfortunately, in most cases, they can. Unless you have an employment contract or type of collective bargaining agreement, you are considered an at wll employee. This means an employee can be terminated at any time, for any reason, or even no reason at all, so long as the grounds are not unlawful (e.g., you are terminated because of your race,or sex).

 

An employer has the right to decide to not terminate one employee but terminate another.

 

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Expert:  socrateaser replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

This question was moved to the California Employment Law category. Since the original expert is not qualified in this category, please permit me to assist.

There are actually several issues here:

1. The first expert was correct that Cal. Labor Code 2922 provides that an emplyer may terminate an employee at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all, unless the employment contract between the parties specifies a contract termination date.

2. In California, an employer that has a written disciplinary policy, stated, for example, in an employee handbook, can be liable for wrongful termination to an employee for failing to follow that policy, before terminating an employee.

3. Private employers (but not government employers) are also required to act in "good faith" (honestly and fairly) with respect to any agreements or disciplinary policies concerning their employees.

4. A customer who attempts to interfere with the employment contract between an employer and employee can be held liable for "intentional interference with contractual relations." This provides an employee with a legal action against the customer, in the event that the employer terminates the employee.

When you put all of the above together, the employer can terminate the employee -- but if it does so without following its own disciplinary policy, then the employee may be able to sue for any lost wages between the date of termination and the date of trial in court. And, the employee may have a lawsuit against the customer who is attempting to obtain the employee's termination.

Hope this helps.

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