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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I have 2 employees who work at my care facility. They have

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I have 2 employees who work at my care facility. They have a personal issue outside of work and don't like each other. The one is saying she is gonna have the last laugh and she's taking everyone down and gonna make life hard for everyone( we have nothing to do with their personal situation) because the other staff she says is trying to get her kids taken from her. Her attitude sucks and no one wants to work with her. I want to fire her. Can u help me with some advice?
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. I am very sorry to hear about the difficult situation with these employees.

Fortunately, the laws in this area strongly favor the employer. Absent an employment contract guaranteeing employment for a specified period of time, employment in the state of California is presumed to be "at will." More specifically, California Labor Code Section 2922 provides that: "employment, having no specified term, may be terminated at the will of either party on notice to the other." What this means is that an employer is free to terminate employees for any reason whatsoever, even a reason that is entirely unfair, unless the underlying motivation is discriminatory or otherwise in violation of California law.

There is absolutely nothing illegal about firing an employee because they have a bad attitude and/or cannot get along with others at work. All an employer in your circumstance needs to do is notify the employee they are being terminated effective immediately and preferably do so in writing so there is record of it. You need not even state a reason, though in this case since your reason is perfectly lawful there is no reason not to tell the truth.

The main pitfall for employers when letting someone go is that the terminated employee's final wages must be paid IMMEDIATELY--not on the next regularly scheduled payday. (Labor Code 201) Failure to immediately pay a departing employee's final wages will typically result in the assessment of a penalty in the amount of the employee's daily rate of pay for each day the wages go unpaid up to 30 days.

So for example, if an employee who makes $100 a day is terminated on on the first of the month but not paid his final wages until the 20th, he would be entitled to a $2,000 penalty from his employer in addition to the earned wages.

To summarize, as an employer you enjoy tremendous discretion under these circumstances. Since employment is "at will" absent an express agreement to the contrary, you can fire this or any employee for a poor attitude, failing to get along, or just in general causing "drama." You must, however, pay their final wages immediately, preferably by handing them their final paycheck at the same time you hand them their written termination notice.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
She also told me that she is stressed out with the other staff, and that I should pay for it cuz the other staff is also my employee. . The other staff is doing fine on the job. If I fire her, after I fire her can she file workman comp case because she's now even more stressed without a job than before? I cannot control staff outside the workplace and I also have no proof of the other one doing anything to her. I know is going to try to do some sabotage after I fire her.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I am awaiting answer
Thank you for your followup question and please excuse my delay in getting back to you.

If she can prove that she is suffering from a debilitating health condition which she developed as a result of stress and anxiety at work, then she may be able to file for workers comp. However, such claims for emotional damage are regarded with extreme skepticism and rarely succeed. Moreover, you would not pay any out of pocket cost if such claim were successful, since it would be covered by your workers comp insurance.

In short, an employer in your circumstance has every right to terminate this employee. Worker's comp has nothing to do with the legality of termination--all an injured employee needs to do is demonstrate that their "injury" occurred on the job. So, it is at least conceivable that this employee could file for workers comp, though claims for emotional damage do not typically fair well.

Again, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns. I hope that you have a very pleasant evening.
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