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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 am owner of a small acupuncture clinic in burbank,CA. I

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I am owner of a small acupuncture clinic in burbank,CA. I have 1 employee whom I am having problems with. She is argumentative and uncooperative. I have talked to her on several occasions, but the relationship is strained and I am going to have to terminate her. I called the labor board and they asked them what procedures I must follow to terminate her. They said California is an "at will"employment state and I can terminate her at any time without any reason as long as I pay all wages and vacation pay due. The recommended I not give a reason because it could come back to haunt me. Is this true? I have not contract or written employment agreement with this employee. She is a salary employee and I want to restructure and make that position hourly Please advise
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.

Yes, employment in California is at-will by default, meaning that you can terminate your employees at any time for any reason with or without any prior notice.

The employment at-will doctrine 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

It is completely unnecessary to give a reason for the termination, but it would be helpful to have your reason documented if you want to avoid having to pay unemployment benefits for the employee. (Since an employee needs to be terminated 'for cause' in order not to receive unemployment benefits).

I disagree, however, with the statement that the reason you give for termination could come back to haunt you. If anything it would likely strengthen your case if you inform the employee that she is being terminated for insubordination, rather than just telling her she's terminated and not giving any reason for it. (If you were to state that it's for restructuring instead, you would be less likely to prevail against the employee, since you would have given her a reason for her termination that means she would have been terminated through no fault of her own).

Based on the facts you've mentioned, you would have sufficient good cause to terminate your worker for insubordination for being argumentative and uncooperative. The fact that you've spoken to her many times regarding these problems and she still hasn't changed would also be a benefit to you in proving that she was terminate for cause and not through no fault of her own.

I hope the above information is helpful.

Please let me know if you have any follow up or clarifying questions as I want to ensure that you are completely satisfied with my service.

If not, please remember to rate my answer positively so I get paid for my work. (If I don’t receive a positive rating, I get nothing for assisting you, as I only receive payment for questions with positive ratings. Even if you made a deposit, it is still necessary to rate me positively for me to receive payment from your question).

Thanks and best of luck!

Joseph and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Hello Marc,

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.

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Thanks again and best of luck,