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Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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My husband was terminated on Friday for violating company policy.

Customer Question

My husband was terminated on Friday for violating company policy. He reported to work on Thursday and was asked to meet with the #1 and #2 managers at his location. He was told that he was observed by 2 employees and 1 manager to be smelling of alcohol and also seen taking pills. My husband denied the allegations and of course since it was obviously a reprimand for an incident that happened prior, he had no way of proving his innocence. He is employed at will so they can terminate for any reason, but since they did state a reason, do they have to prove their allegations or is the word of these other employees enough? He would of course love to have his job back as he did not violate the company policy, but our immediate concern is how this "reason" for termination is going to affect his employment. He recently suffered a back spasm at work. His time off that our doctor required along with physical therapy and doctor visits were all paid by my husband. He has been treated differently since his return and we feel he was really terminated because of their fear that he would get hurt again and possibly claim work comp. He was asked on Thursday to provide a release from the doctor (which he had already provided at the time of his return), when he returned on Friday with it, they still terminated him for violating company policy. Can we do something proactively when filing his unemployment claim to speed the process up?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Joseph replied 5 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your husband's situation and hope I can help.

Unfortunately, as an at-will employee, your husband can be terminated from his job at any time for any reason (even a bad one) with or without prior notice.

This stems from the employment at-will doctrine, which is codified in California Labor Code Section 2922, which states:

"An employment, having no specified term, may be terminated at the will of either party on notice to the other. Employment for a specified term means an employment for a period greater than one month."However, when he files for unemployment benefits, he is presumed to be entitled to unemployment benefits, and his employer will need to demonstrate that he was terminated for cause (and not through no fault of his own).

Unfortunately, the employer could probably prove this through witness statements of your husband's co-workers that he smelled of alcohol and was seen taking pills.

I wish I had better news to give you, but I hope you appreciate a direct and honest answer to your question.