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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12490
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Is it "Lawful" for an employer to fire an employee on the morning

Customer Question

Is it "Lawful" for an employer to fire an employee on the morning of their second day on the job, in the parking lot, without check in hand, and not pay for milage or the 2 hours for showing up for scheduled shift?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am so sorry to hear that you were let go in this fashion and I completely understand why you are frustrated by this completely unfair situation.

Unfortunately, all I can do is provide you with an accurate understanding of the law, and the law in this regard does not prohibit the conduct you described.

The reason for this is that employment in the state of California is presumed to be "at will." 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 employees for any reason whatsoever, and at any time whatsoever, unless the underlying motivation is discriminatory or otherwise in violation of California law.

Termination is only "discriminatory" if it is motivated by an employee's race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age (over 40), or sexual orientation.

Thus, even though it was only your second day, your employer had the right to terminate your employment at any time, and so termination on the second day would not ordinarily be illegal.

With regard to your mileage, this again is a very understandable concern and frustration, but the news is unfortuantely again bad. An employer is not required to reimburse for mileage to the employee's worksite. If the employee uses their vehicle while on the job, for example to travel between work sites, they would need to reimburse for that, but the drive to work does not need to be reimbursed.

I realize that the law is not entirely in your favor here and I am truly sorry to have to deliver bad news. Nonetheless, I trust that you will appreciate an accurate explanation of the law and realize that it would be unprofessional of me and unfair to you to provide you with anything less.

I sincerely hope that this information helps you and I wish you the best.

If you do not have any further concerns, I would be very grateful if you would give my answer a positive rating and click submit, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you. If you have any additional concerns that you would like me to address, please feel free to let me know by hitting the REPLY or CONTINUE CONVERSATION button and I will be more than happy to continue assisting you.

Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Thank you and very kindest regards.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The mileage was for.... While on company time, my first day, I went to Wellsfargo Bank for the employer to make a deposit. I was told that I would receive mileage reimbursement for this task, but when reviewing my check stub they fail to do so.

Also the last part was that I showed up for my scheduled shift and did not receive the customary 2 hour pay when turned away.

I was told at the end of my first day "Good Job! Great first day. We will see you tomorrow." I was told a half hour prior to that "We will put you in the Time Clock system tomorrow morning, ok?"

So I showed up for my scheduled shift only to be fired in the parking.

What about this...?

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you very much for your reply and please excuse the delay in my response.

In regard to your employer sending you home at the beginning of your shift, you would typically be entitled to what is known as "reporting time" pay. See the following DIR publication for more information:

Reporting time pay would entitle an employee who shows up for a subsequently cancelled shift half of what their pay would have been for the shift, with a maximum pay entitlement of 4 hours.

If the milegage reimbursement was for running a company errand, you would absolutely be entitled to reimbursement for that pursuant to Labor Code 2802, which states: "An employer shall indemnify his or her employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties..."

In regard to both your reibmursement and reporting time pay, an individual in your circumstance can file a wage claim with the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement to obtain those amounts. To file a wage claim with the DLSE, visit this link:

Again, I sincerely hope that this information helps you and I wish you the best. If I have answered your question, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Kindest regards.