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Patrick, Esq.
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After we terminated an employee for cause in California, she

Resolved Question:

After we terminated an employee for cause in California, she is claiming harrassment and retalitation. What does California law require us to do next?
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.

If this individual were still employed, California law would require you to "take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring." (Cal. Gov. Code, § 12940(k); Weeks v. Baker & McKenzie, 63 Cal. App. 4th 1128, 1146, 1174 (1998).)

Since the individual has already be let go, however, there is not much you can do to "prevent the discrimination from occurring." Still, if these allegations were made in regard to a particular employee within your company, it may be wise to conduct an investigation of that individual, that way you have record that you were diligent in determining whether the allegations made against him were legitimate and you have satisfied any conceivable obligation you would still have under Govt. Code 12940(k).

Beyond conducting an investigation into the legitimacy of the allegations, there is typically nothing else that needs to be done because the employee is no longer with the company. An employer is not obligated to rehire an employee simply because the allege harassment post-termination.

If the employee has not yet filed a claim with the DFEH or EEOC, you may wish to contacting them to negotiate a severance deal, through which they receive a cash payment in exchange for waiving their right to sue. The other option is simply to wait and see whether they decide to actually pursue this matter as a legal claim.

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the best.

My greatest concern is that you are satisfied with the answer I provide, so please do not hesitate to contact me with follow-up questions. Although I cannot always provide good news, I hope that my answer gives you a better understanding of the law and your rights so that you can obtain the best possible result under the circumstances. Also, please bear in mind that experts are not credited for unaccepted answers, so I greatly appreciate you taking the time to "accept" my answer and leave positive feedback.

Finally, none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

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