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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12801
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I own and run an ice cream store with 8 part time employees

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I own and run an ice cream store with 8 part time employees in California. One of employee works only one 3-hour shift per week due to her limited availability. Now, she has been missing that shift also. So, I want to terminate her employment.
She just sent me an email that she wouldn't be coming to her scheduled shift on this Thursday's as she has a school activity. If I terminate her this week, then, it gets difficult for me to collect the store main key, uniform, etc. from her. Instead, I plan to not take any action until she comes to store for her shift next Thursday. Then, when she comes next week, I plan to give her termination letter and pay check at that time.
Do you see any issues with this approach? or have any suggestions? I have sensed that her parents and she have tendency to get best out of situations, so I wanted to be careful to avoid any legal action, etc.

Thanks,
Kumar

Kumar,

Thank you very much for requesting me to answer your question. It's my pleasure to assist you as always.

It is generally much better to terminate an employee at the end of a shift rather than at the start of a shift. This is because CA law recognizes something called "reporting time" pay. Reporting time pay provides that an employee who shows up for a subsequently cancelled shift is entitled to half of what their pay would have been for the shift up to 4 hours.

Therefore, if you terminate this employee at the beginning of her 8 hour shift and immediately send her home, you would be required to pay 4 hour's of wages, even though she did not work that amount of time. This would be in addition to all of her final wages, which Labor Code 201 mandates that you pay immediately upon termination.

So, the only issue here is with the precise timing of termination as it relates to reporting time pay. If possible, it would be much metter to fire the employee at the end of her shift rather than the beginning. Either that or the day before the shift, but then you have an issue in terms of getting her to bring in her key and uniform.

As always, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns. 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.

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