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Joseph
Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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I am a manager in a regional office of a national company.

Customer Question

I am a manager in a regional office of a national company. I am being accused of "age discrimination" by an employee because this person believes I stated in a staff meeting that "all employees with more than 15 years of experience will be let go so we can hire younger people to reduce costs". I was questioned by HR several months ago about this and denied making that statement. Today I received a letter from HR stating they investigated this complaint and have concluded I did make this statement. I asked both my secretary and my next in command if they recall me making that statement and both have told me "no". HR wants me sign a letter accepting my guilt in this matter and to attend a training class. I don't mind attending training, but I feel very awkward signing the letter from HR. Do I have any rights to know how the investigation was conducted? Can I request an independent investigation of this issue or do I just sign the letter even though I disagree with it?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Joseph replied 4 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

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

Do you have an employment contract with your employer or are you an 'at-will' employee?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I am an "at will" employee
Expert:  Joseph replied 4 years ago.
Unfortunately, your rights as an at-will employee are extremely limited (to the point of being nonexistent) in this regard.

HR does not have any right to disclose how the investigation was conducted nor do you have any rights to have an independent investigation conducted regarding the age discrimination issue.

This stems from the employment at-will doctrine, which is codified in California Labor Code 2922, and 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."

Typically, HR will not disclose details of the investigation due to a desire to protect the confidentiality of the parties involve and to
prevent any retailation from occuring.

That said, it is always your choice whether to sign the letter that they are requesting that you sign, especially if you believe that it is
untrue.

However, as an at-will employee, since you can be terminated at any time for any reason, that woud include failing to sign a letter that
your employer is requesting that you sign.

I realize this is not the information you wanted to hear and I sincerely wish I had better news to give you, but I hope you appreciate a direct
and honest answer to your question.

I hope the above information is helpful.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
Expert:  Joseph replied 4 years ago.
Please remember to rate my answer positively so I get credit for my work!

Thanks and best of luck!