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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 35324
Experience:  I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
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I had a baby 2 years ago and my company allowed me to cut back

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I had a baby 2 years ago and my company allowed me to cut back my hours. Now they say they need a full time person, but are not offering me the job and have terminated me without severance after 14 years with the company. Is this legal?

Good afternoon Elizabeth,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

Unless you have a written contract of employment with your employer, which guarantees your position with the company for a set period of time and at a given wage, then you are considered an employee-at-will. This means that there is likely little protection afforded you relating to unreasonable supervisors/bosses, problem co-workers and company policies.

In CA, employees are presumed to be "at will." At-will employees may be terminated for any reason—at any time, even a mistaken reason, they can have their hours or pay decreased and they can suffer a cut in their benefits, so long as it's not illegal or unlawfully discriminatory.

Unlawful discrimination would include an employer discriminating based upon a person’s Ethnicity, Color, Religion, National Origin, Gender or Disability.

As you were part time, they may have felt that you would not be willing to come back full time. And unfortunately, the law did not require them to offer a full time position to you. I'm very sorry.

In terms of severance, the state of California has no mandatory severance pay law, and an employer may let an employee go without any pay or benefits other than that which has been earned up to the point of termination. On the other hand, if the company has a policy of paying severance pay to employees in your situation, then the employer must treat all employees equally in terms of the amount and nature of the severance pay based on their position in the company at the time of the lay-off.

While they certainly owed you better than you were treated after 14 years of loyalty Elizabeth, nothing that you have shared would allow me to say that the employer violated any laws in choosing to let you go. I'm sorry.

I wish you the best in 2013.

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

You may reply back to me using the Reply to Expert link if you have additional questions.

Kindly take a moment to rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided. Please understand that I have no control over the how the law impacts your particular situation.

Thank you,

Doug

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Thank you for your positive rating of my service, Elizabeth. It has been my pleasure to assist you and I hope you will ask for me on JustAnswer should a future need ever arise.

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Thanks again.

Doug

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