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Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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I worked as an hourly employee for 15 months at my previous

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I worked as an hourly employee for 15 months at my previous employer and was promised a full time position (contract) once one opened up. before being hired for the hourly position I was required to under go a full background investigation prior to being offered the job. I cleared the background process and started working back in May 2012. I was told from day 1 on the job that as soon as a contract opens up, it would be mine. I waited 15 months and a contract finally opened up. My supervisor told me that in order to get it I would just need to apply, sign a form stating I want to lateral transfer from hourly to full time (contract), update my previous background (from when I got hired to the present), and pass an oral interview. I applied for the job but was not treated as a lateral employee. I was treated as if I was a new applicant. I was given an entirely new background (which I am told there is no company policy that says they do this, and violates past practice of the department) and then later disqualified by the new investigator conducting my background. None of my information from the first background had changed, they disqualified me for the same information that the agency had passed me with 15 months earlier. The most recent 3 contracted employees that work in the department I did all were treated as lateral transfers and NONE of them had to undergo a second background. After being disqualified, I was left in my hourly position and they worked me another 18 days before randomly letting me go without reason. (They claim my services were no longer needed, but in letting me go, my department is working mandatory overtime to cover my shifts) The same person who signed off my first background investigation saying I was good to work there is the same person who is now saying no. I feel I was wrongfully denied the opportunity at an advancement in my career and the opportunity for benefits and greater pay. I have spoken to other Officers who have conducted backgrounds for this agency, including the one who conducted my first background and all have told me that is not past practice, and they botched my process and letting me go is their way of covering up their mistake. I was also told nothing in my first background warrented a disqualification per the agency's standards. Do I have a case or can my employer do this?? My husband and I were in the process of purchasing a new home (which I asked my supervisor prior to the purchase about how certain the contract was and was told there is no way they can't hire me) and now because I lost my income and were within 10 days of closing escrow and had to back out, we lost the $60,000 we already had in equity on the property as well as $12,500 from our deposit as liquidated damages) We have till Sep 5th at our current residence so we were forced to find a rental property and had to pay $4,400 to get in for first months rent and security deposit. (which we wouldn't have had to do if they didn't violate past practice or let me go)
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

Can you please tell me if you had anything in writing from your employer stating that you would receive a contract position without having to be treated as a new applicant?

Also, can you tell me if you believe that you are being treated unfairly by your employer due to discrimination based on a protected characteristic (such as race, gender, national origin, ethnicity, sex, or gender)?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.



No, unfortunatley I have nothing in writing from my supervisor promising the contract. Just her verbally telling me (along with all the other dispatchers) that they way they do things is they hire people as an hourly first and then they always get the contract because they are already trained, past probation, and self sufficent on the job.


I do, have an email from my first background investigator telling me that he disagrees with the second background investigators decision and telling me that he has done many backgrounds for hourlys to contracts and they have always been just updates, not new (second) backgrounds. He also stated that nothing in my background would've constituted me being disqualified.


No, I do not believe I am being discriminated against based on a protected characteristic (such as race, gender, national origin, ethnicity, sex, or gender) BUT do feel I was not given the equal opportunity for the contract.



Hello Jennifer,

Unfortunately, since you didn’t have an employment contract with your employer stating that you would receive a contract position after 15 months of service as an hourly employee, you don’t have a cause of action against your employer for wrongful termination.

As an at-will employee, you can be terminated at any time for any reason with or without any prior notice. This stems from the employment at-will doctrine, which is codified in California Labor code Section 2922, and states:
“An employment, having no specified term, may be terminated at
the will of either party on notice to the other. Employment for a
specified term means an employment for a period greater than one

While your employer’s treatment of you in requiring you to go through a new application process for the new position and then terminating you when nothing in your background check had changed is incredibly unethical, unfair, and wrong, unfortunately, it is not illegal.

In fact, even if the background check was botched and you were denied the advancement due to false information that still doesn't give rise to a cause of action against your employer. As the at-will doctrine lets employers make decisions based on no information or false information. It is only illegal when they treat you differently due to discrimination due to a protected characteristic.

It would only be illegal if your employer were treating you unfairly on the basis of a protected characteristic. Otherwise, as ant-will employer, your employer does not have any obligation to treat all employees equally or fairly under the law, and can decide to terminate you just because he or she doesn’t like you.

I realize the above information is definitely not what you wanted to hear and I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX had better news to give you (as I believe we should have much greater protections in place for employees), but I hope you appreciate an honest and direct answer to your question. It would be unprofessional of me and unfair to you to provide you with anything less.

Thanks and best of luck!

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX your help and time.

Thank you, Jennifer! I really wish I had better news to deliver to you! Happy to help and best of luck!

Have a great weekend!
Hello Jennifer,

If you don't have any follow up or clarifying questions, please remember to rate my answer positively so I get credit for my work!

Thanks and best of luck!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, I got nothing. :)

Okay, just checking. Thanks again!
Joseph and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Hello Jennifer,

Thank you for your positive rating of my service! It has been my pleasure to assist you and I hope than you will ask for me on JustAnswer should you have future legal questions.

Please request me directly by placing “to Joseph” at the beginning of your question and/or requesting me directly in California Employment Law.

When you receive your Customer Satisfaction Survey from JustAnswer, please do rate me highly (9-10) there as well. It benefits my ability to assist you and other customers, and would be tremendously appreciated.

Thanks again and best of luck,