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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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My brother was let go after one year and a half in California.

Resolved Question:

My brother was let go after one year and a half in California. He was never given a warning, written notice. The owners came and told him they are taking away his managerial position cause he is not from the industry. He can however work behind the counter.
Is this wronful termination? Shouldn't they have known this first 90 days or first six month?
Thank you!
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. I am so incredibly sorry to hear about your brother's termination and certainly agree that it sounds unfair.

Unfortunately, however, the laws in this area strongly favor the employer, and so I hope you will appreciate a very direct answer to your question although it is not what you are hoping to hear.

Absent an employment contract guaranteeing employment for a specified period of time, you are what is known as an "at will" employee. 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 you for any reason whatsoever, even a reason that is entirely unfair, unless the underlying motivation is discriminatory or otherwise in violation of California law.

So, even though it took many months for your brother's employer to figure out that they didn't want him for the job, it is not illegal for them to remove him from that position unless the basis for the removal was his race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age (over 40), or sexual orientation. These are the protected "classes" under California law, and unless termination or demotion is motivated by an individual's membership in any of these classes, the employer is free to take adverse employment action against them for any reason and at any time.

Again, I realize that this is not what you were hoping to hear, but nonetheless I hope that you appreciate an honest and direct answer to your question.

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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