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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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is was notified i was seperated from my company does this mean

Resolved Question:

is was notified i was seperated from my company does this mean terminated? and how can fight this action
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. Did you have an employment contract guaranteeing you employment for a specified period of time? Are you a public sector employee? Thanks so much for the additional information.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

i am a fed ex freight truck driver had a specific run to drive weekly and was paid by miles driven and hourly. i have worked for the company x 3 years and recently had a incident of a breaks malfunction so the safety officer was doing an investigation. this investigation was started a couple of weeks after the malfunction. i was working regular shift all this time and on 10/26/11 i reported to work 11pm too be notified i was not able to work due being on suspension until further notice. so i was up and decided to get drunk - i drank all night and went to sleep about 9-10 am. i was called and told i needed to come in to answer some questions about 2pm. i went to office did not clock in, went in my regular clothes and was told i had to go drug test. i told my boss i had been drinking all night and would not pass the alcohol test. he said i had to go anyway. he had another employee drive me. after the drug test, i was then told i was drunk on the job, even though i did not work.i was told later i would be called with there decision. so i continued to drink so my wife convinced me to go to a detox center and get help so i notified my company on 10/31/11 that i was going into a hospital and would not be available by phone for a few days. I had to leave a message of this as no one was available to speak to me

. on the way to the hospital Iwas advised on the phone I was being seperated from the company and how did I want to get my final check and this was not even told to me by the HR dept it was a message passed along to me from them. so i dont even know whats happening other than i trying to get my self sober.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Other.
needed more info waiting response
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for the additional information and sorry about my delay in getting back to you.

It sounds like you are going through some difficult times. I'm not sure that you will be happy to hear what I have to tell you, but I do hope you appreciate an accurate legal response, regardless.

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." Assuming that you do not have a contract that guarantees you employment for a specified term, and since you are not a public sector employee, you are an "at-will" employee. As an at will employee, you are free to leave your job at any time. In exchange, your employer is free to change the requirements, promote, terminate or demote you as it sees fit and without reason or for an unfair reason, provided it is not otherwise acting in violation of California law or public policy. This means that, most likely, your employer did not even NEED for you to fail an alcohol test in order to dismiss you.

What is important for you to know is that the California Labor Code provides that an employee who is discharged must be paid all of his or her wages, including accrued vacation, immediately at the time of termination. (Labor Code Sections 201 and 227.3) Further, an employer who willfully fails to pay any wages due a terminated employee (discharge or quit) in the prescribed time frame may be assessed a waiting time penalty. The waiting time penalty is an amount equal to the employee's daily rate of pay for each day the wages remain unpaid, up to a maximum of thirty (30) calendar days. Mamika v. Barca (1998) 68 Cal.App4th 487. It would generally be wise to demand in writing immediate payment of your final wages pursuant to this law.

You may be eligible to collect unemployment benefits, but your employer will have a case that it discharged you for "willful misconduct" because of your drinking. Typically, employees who are terminated for willful misconduct are not entitled to collect benefits. You should definitely still apply and try to fight it if the your employer appeals your claim.

I hope all this helps and I wish you the best of luck. Please remember that the above does not constitute legal advice and to PLEASE click ACCEPT so that I will be paid for my time. Thank you so much.


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Finally, the information that I have provided is not legal advice. I am not acting as your attorney and my answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. I encourage you to consult with a local attorney in regard to legal matters.

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