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Tina, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 33167
Experience:  JD, 17 years experience & recognized by ABA for excellence in employment law.
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I own an architecture firm. I currently have two employees

Resolved Question:

I own an architecture firm. I currently have two employees and expect to hire three more in the next few months. I was very close to letting one of my current employees go due to a lack of projects/workload in the office and her underperformance. Just before I did so, she told me she was pregnant. I decided to keep her in case it was ever perceived that I let her go because she is pregnant. She is now almost due to have her baby, and I need to know what legal obligations I have toward her, if any. We are located in San Francisco. Ideally, I would prefer that she not return although she is telling me that she wants to after taking four months off. I would only take her back if I have to, if we have enough work, and if she is willing to work full-time (which she does now). So, my questions are: what legal obligations (federal, state, city) do I have toward her, and if none, what is the best, XXXXX XXXXX to communicate our intentions to her and without creating any expectations?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Tina replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for contacting

Have you documented the incidents of underperformance by the employee?

Do you have a written policy with regard to pregnancy or disability leave?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
We have or done neither. Thanks.
Expert:  Tina replied 6 years ago.
Since you have so few employees, you are not typically required to provide the employee with pregnancy leave. However, the her under performance should be well-documented to thwart any attempt to make a claim of discrimination against the company.

Employers often provide such employees with severance pay in return for the employee signing a release of claims against the company to ensure litigation is not filed.

The employee would normally be entitled to disability benefits through the EDD if she is unable to work due to pregnancy and following birth of the child.

Good luck and take care.



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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
How do we conclude our employment agreement?
Expert:  Tina replied 6 years ago.
I'm not sure what you are asking. The employee has a written contract of employment for a term of years?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
No but I want to separate from her so that I can cancel workers comp, unemployment benefits, and stop paying any taxes, etc. I don't want her to walk out the door thinking she has a job with us in 4 months.
Expert:  Tina replied 6 years ago.
It would be best to have an attorney draft a release of claims document for her to sign if you intend to pay her any severance. If you do not intend to do that, then I would discuss the situation with her, that you are unable to provide her with leave because you are a small employer and cannot afford to do that, that she should be entitled to disability leave through the state, and that due to her performance, you will be releasing her from your employ.

Tina and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you