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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12786
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Need some advice: I was told about 1.5 weeks ago that my position

Customer Question

Need some advice: I was told about 1.5 weeks ago that my position was being eliminated beginning Jan. 1, 2012. They said I could stay until the end of the year, which I opted to do. This nonprofit, however, is currently looking for a part timer. This person's position would overlap mine (I read the job description). I also found out (only b/c I saw the job online) that they will be getting medical/dental benefits starting in January - including for the part timer! We've never had any coverage.

I received an email today stating that I have my performance review next Wednesday. I responded by saying I didn't feel it was necessary to have a review since my position is being eliminated (she also told me beforehand that it was optional). She then responded and said that it's the law to have the review if my position is being permanently eliminated. Is this true? And if so, can I opt to not have this review? Thanks!
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.

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.

This means that your employer is free to hire someone else in a part time position with duties that overlap yours--even if they have informed you that your position is being eliminated, typically. Further, as an at will employee you are typically free not to participate in the performance review process, though if you fail to do so, your employer may terminate you on that basis. If they are conditioning severance pay on participation in the review or an otherwise "clean break" from the company, it would be wise to cooperate, as your company has no obligation to provide severance. Further, your lack of cooperation could give them grounds to contest your eligibility for unemployment benefits, though this is unlikely.

Hope this helps and good luck.

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