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Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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Hi, I was recently told I could no longer work at my job, because I did not sign a contrac

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Hi, I was recently told I could no longer work at my job, because I did not sign a contract. I have been working without one since June, however, and was never notified it was not possible to work without one. In a recent meeting we actually discussed how if an agreement could not be met that I could work without one and just sign employee handbook, which I did. I was suddenly told I either had to sign it or be terminated, I have paperwork that says this. I tried to make small edits and sign it, but they said that was not possible. After informing my employer that I would not be signing the contract, but will not resign, I asked for them to send me documentation on my present job status. In my last meeting they said I was not fired, and as I stated I was not resigning, but that I was just no longer able to work there since I did not have a contract. I asked for written clarification of what that term is, and of my job status. They said there is not one. Please help!

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

My name isXXXXX am a licensed attorney, and my goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

I need a bit more information from you before I can proceed to provide you with a complete and thorough answer to your question.

What question do you have regarding your situation?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I need to know if it is o.k. for my employer to say that I am not fired, but terminated (they said this term can mean many things), while acknowledging that I am not resigning either.


I asked for what the term would be if I am not fired and not resigning, but also being told I no longer work there. Additionally, that I was denied clarification on this matter and that my request for written documentation of my job status was also not granted.


They said because I did not sign the contract I was recently given, I could not work there, even though it is not written anywhere that I need a contact to work there or has ever been mentioned before.


Additionally, I have been working without a contract for 3 months, and in a recent meeting we decided verbally if an agreement couldn't be reached I could work without a contract and just receive my same pay and sign the employee handbook, which I did.






Hello Christina,

Thanks for the clarification and additional information. I'll get back to you shortly.
Hello Christina,

Unfortunately, without an employment contract, you are an at-will employee, meaning that you can be terminated at any time for any reason with or without any prior notice. So, I regret to inform you that it is perfectly legal for your employer to terminate you for failing to sign a contract. (Ironically, it is the contract that provides you protection from being terminated for an arbitrary reason, as normally those with employment contracts can only be terminated for good cause).

It is, unfortunately, unimportant that you were working for the employer for a certain amount of time (three months) without a contract and that you had offered to sign the contract without alterations or sign the employee handbook.

An employer is free to require that you agree to a contract as a term and/or condition of employment and can terminate you for failing to agree to that contract.

You still should be able to obtain unemployment benefits, as long as you can demonstrate that you were terminated through no fault of your own and not for good cause. That said, your employer (if it wants to contest your unemployment benefits) is likely to argue that you were terminated for good cause for failing to comply with a reasonable employer request, i.e. signing the contract. Whether or not this is considered reasonable will depend on the content of the contract of course.

I realize the above information is not what you wanted to hear and I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX had better news to give you, 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.

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. Please contact me first if you are contemplating leaving me a negative rating, as I’ll be happy to continue to address your concerns until you are completely satisfied with my service.

If not, please remember to rate my answer positively so I get credit for my work.

Thanks and best of luck!

Joseph and 2 other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.



Thank you!


My main concern, particularly after reading your response, is what I thought, that perhaps my employer was being explicit on not saying I was 'fired' so as to possibly avoid allowing me to collect unemployment.


I have already filed for unemployment, via online, and have other questions about the process, specifically what I can do if they try to say I was terminated for good cause and it was my fault. We have no unemployment office in San Diego and I am unsure what the process is after I filed my claim? Do you know anything about this process?


If my employer tries to deny me UI what would be my best course of action and how will I even know if they do deny it. I have tried to call the Labor dept. however the government one is shut down, and our state labor agency does not connect with a person, it is all down through automated phone service and online.


Hello Christina,

There actually is no real unemployment office anywhere in California. The only way to get in touch with them is the Ask EDD website here:

Also, it is ALWAYS impossible to get through to EDD on the phone, regardless of what is shut down. The ONLY real way to contact them is the website.

They will normally start benefits, but will contact your employer to see if it contests your application for benefits.

You will have an interview scheduled if there is a conflict between what you said in your application and what your employer is alleging.

You would will notified by mail if for some reason your benefits are denied, at which point you can file an appeal of the denial.

Hello Christina,

Just wanted to check in to see if you had any follow up or clarifying questions regarding the above information.

If not, please remember to rate my answer positively so I get credit for my work!

Thanks and best of luck!