California Employment Law

Have California employment law questions? Ask a lawyer.

Ask a Lawyer,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Last Friday I was “not fired”. I am a clinic director at an…

Customer Question
Last Friday I was...

Last Friday I was “not fired”. I am a clinic director at an affluent retirement community in Montecito. My hire date was January 5, 2015. I have had many achievements in this last year, and I have recently had my annual review where I received and overall rating of “Outstanding: Meets Casa Dorinda’s high standards”.With this background you can imagine my surprise when I was called into my bosses office and told that I needed to come up with some way to make a graceful exit, because we have to go our separate ways in about two-three weeks. Reason was that the residents “have problems with your nursing competence”. When I asked for a specific example of a problem with my nursing competence, I was told that it was just “in general” and “nothing specific”. When I pressed she said “you don’t want to go there, they said that your not trustworthy, and things like that”. She said “you want to make sure this transition goes smoothly because this is a small town and I would hate to see your reputation damaged if people talk”. She stated three times during the conversation that I was “not fired”. She said that this breaks her heart because she really likes me as a person and really respects my expertise as a nurse. She said that she struggled with this decision for the last week and met with Jerome the HR director, and Robin the finance director and acting CEO (currently in the middle of a CEO search). She said the three of them discussed this and decided that this was the only way, because this negative talk among the residents “has left the station” and they “cannot reel it in”. She stated that “this is bigger than you, this is bigger then all of us”. She stated that she has seen this kind of negative talk take over the campus before and there is no stopping it…this has to be the solution as unfair as it is. She stated that I did not deserve this. Her voice was shaking during most of this conversation, and she is not a lady that shakes easily. She promised to give me an excellent reference, and stated that she would say whatever I wanted her to say. I told her to speak from the heart and tell the truth—that always works for me. I also spoke with Jerome, the HR director who stated similar things and also offered to give me a positive reference and “link up” with me on LinkedIn.I am interested in hiring a lawyer to help negotiate an employment separation agreement. I would like to know if my rights have been violated. I would like to explore whether it would be prudent to take some action to protect my reputation. Nothing was presented in writing, nor did I have the presence of mind to ask for something in writing. I do not know what this is, I have not quit, nor have I been fired. I have been “not fired”. I also did not have the presence of mind to ask for a severance package, nor did they offer one.I have kept a work journal that I have kept up since my hire date, and can send it electronically. Can you help me?

Lawyer's Assistant: OK. The Employment Lawyer will need to help you with this. Have you consulted a lawyer yet?

No

Lawyer's Assistant: Please tell me your email address, in case we get disconnected.

Customer:***@******.***

Lawyer's Assistant: Thanks. Are you ready to speak with the Employment Lawyer now?

Yes

Submitted: 2 years ago.Category: California Employment Law
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own California Employment Law Question
Answered in 33 minutes by:
2/24/2016
California Employment Lawyer: Patrick, Esq., Lawyer replied 2 years ago
Patrick, Esq.
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,223
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Verified

Good evening and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. I am very sorry to hear about your employer's decision to let you go.

Unfortunately, I must tell you that the facts you describe would not typically give rise to any legal claims. The reason boils down to the fact that employment is "at will" absent an express agreement to the contrary. At will employment can be terminated for any reason not amounting to discrimination on the basis of a legally protected trait (race, religion, gender, etc.) or retaliation for engaging in certain forms of legally protected conduct (filing a wage claim, taking FMLA leave, etc.). It doesn't matter whether the basis for termination is fair, reasonable or even TRUE.

Thus, you can be terminated despite a great review, despite the lack of warnings, and despite any complaints about your competency being completely without merit. Employment is essentially a voluntary relationship that can be terminated by either party at any time.

As for severance, your employer has no legal obligation to pay anything beyond your actual earned wages. You can certainly try to negotiate severance pay, but an employee's main leverage in negotiating severance is the threat of a lawsuit, and based on these facts, your employer doesn't really have any legal exposure. So, you just don't have much leverage. Also, by pushing too hard to risk burning bridges, which your employer is apparently quite willing to extend to you right now. So, I would really be careful in pushing too hard for severance, and in general it would be a poor idea to get a lawyer involved as the lawyer won't be able to do much for you and will most likely just create animosity between you and your employer.

I realize that this is not what you were hoping to hear, and I am truly sorry that the law does not provide more protection. But you deserve and honest and direct answer to your question, which is what I am trying to provide.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.

Ask Your Own California Employment Law Question
Was this answer helpful?

How JustAnswer works

step-image
Describe your issueThe assistant will guide you
step-image
Chat 1:1 with a california employment lawyerLicensed Experts are available 24/7
step-image
100% satisfaction guaranteeGet all the answers you need
Ask Patrick, Esq. Your Own Question
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,223
14,223 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.

Patrick, Esq. is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises!

Gary B.Edmond, OK

My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer.

EricRedwood City, CA

I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight.

MichaelWichita, KS

PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent.

Three H.Houston, TX

Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!!

ElaineAtlanta, GA

It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem.

TonyApopka, FL

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

LawTalk

LawTalk

Attorney

1,285 satisfied customers

I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.

Tina

Tina

Attorney

923 satisfied customers

JD, 17 years experience & recognized by ABA for excellence in employment law.

Brandon, Esq.

Brandon, Esq.

Lawyer

348 satisfied customers

Has received a certificate of recognition from the California State Senate for his outstanding legal service.

melissamesq

melissamesq

Attorney

47 satisfied customers

Represent clients to maximum recovery in employment cases.

legalg

legalg

Other

53 satisfied customers

General Practitioner. Research Attorney

Roy Hadavi

Roy Hadavi

14 satisfied customers

Attorney at Law Offices of Rosenstein & Associates

Attorney2020

Attorney2020

Lawyer.

69 satisfied customers

I have significant experience in employment law.

< Previous | Next >

Related California Employment Law Questions
I'd like to have clarification regarding the California
I'd like to have clarification regarding the California Labor Code in relation to the Meal Break Policy in California.I realize an employee can not work for more than 5 hours without getting a 30-minu… read more
Thelawman2
Thelawman2
Doctoral Degree
1,420 satisfied customers
I am a general contractor. A subcontractor did some work for
I am a general contractor. A subcontractor did some work for me in 2015. … read more
legalg
legalg
Other
Juris Doctorate
53 satisfied customers
I believe I am being defrauded by former employer Bank of
I believe I am being defrauded by former employer Bank of America with my pension … read more
Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq.
Attorney
JD
19,863 satisfied customers
I have an employee that is exempt and has lots of medical
I have an employee that is exempt and has lots of medical issues regarding his daughter. Our company only has 21 employees in CA the rest of the employees are out-of-state. The problem we are having i… read more
legalg
legalg
Other
Juris Doctorate
53 satisfied customers
I was classified as an independent contractor for the past
I was classified as an independent contractor for the past 10 years. I believe that was a misclassification due to my recent research. My job title was IT computer technician and I was responsible for… read more
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
12,124 satisfied customers
Is it legal for my employer to call and verify my Dr notes
Is it legal for my employer to call and verify my Dr notes from a year ago … read more
Alex Esquire
Alex Esquire
Managing Attorney
Doctoral Degree
153 satisfied customers
I met an attorney here. He suggested that I apply for a job
I met an attorney here. He suggested that I apply for a job with the same company that terminated my contract. If they rehired me what will this do to my claim?… read more
socrateaser
socrateaser
1,031 satisfied customers
We are a small employee and have an issue with a recent new
We are a small employee and have an issue with a recent new hire. … read more
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq.
Lawyer
14,223 satisfied customers
Requesting Yepez we need to reduce our staff and will have
Requesting Eric Yepez Eric we need to reduce our staff and will have to RIF two employees do to financial situation Can you ask employees to volunteer or is there a specific criteria for the lay off p… read more
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq.
Lawyer
14,223 satisfied customers
I used to work by someone. I was paid extra a good amount of
I used to work by someone. I was paid extra a good amount of $ stating in my pay-stub that this was because of a settlement, but I have never agreed to any settlement whatsoever with them. Now, becaus… read more
PaulmoJD
PaulmoJD
Attorney At Law
Doctoral Degree
106 satisfied customers
I suffer from anxiety and sometimes insomnia due to sleep
Hi there, I suffer from anxiety and sometimes insomnia due to sleep anxiety and was recommended by my doctor that I would treat my anxiety with medical THC. It made my anxiety go away and I was succes… read more
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq.
Lawyer
14,223 satisfied customers
Yepez Another situation yesterday, on a roll One of our
Eric Yepez Another situation yesterday, on a roll One of our vehicles was broke down and under repair for the day, Our employee clocked in stayed at home and said that it is not her fault that the van… read more
Eric Y., Esq.
Eric Y., Esq.
Law/J.D.
305 satisfied customers
I was terminated for cause in California. I have been
I was terminated for cause in California. I have been stationed overseas on a long-term work assignment in Europe and have personal belongings in this apartment. The company has agreed to gather my pe… read more
socrateaser
socrateaser
1,031 satisfied customers
Damion Bosco, We have recently installed GPS tracking to our
Damion Bosco,We have recently installed GPS tracking to our vehicles Legally do wehave to inform the employees that they are being tracked This is in the State of California… read more
Eric Y., Esq.
Eric Y., Esq.
Law/J.D.
305 satisfied customers
I was hired to create and apply a special makeup effect of a
I was hired to create and apply a special makeup effect of a fat prosthetic makeup. The client made a few missteps early on, but I provided their makeup. They had me work overtime and made me believe … read more
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq.
Lawyer
14,223 satisfied customers
Is this a straight forward response to performing my job
Is this a straight forward response to performing my job duties with the use of a support brace?… read more
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq.
Lawyer
14,223 satisfied customers
My employer is not paying me my full wage because they say
my employer is not paying me my full wage because they say they have legal papers allowing them to do so and i have shown them that they are wrong and yeet they are going ahead with it anyway … read more
AlexiaEsq.
AlexiaEsq.
Managing Lawyer/Advocate
Doctoral Degree
37 satisfied customers
I am doing some independent contract work for a company that
I am doing some independent contract work for a company that I used to work for. Would you recommend that I set up a LLC. I don't know if this will be long term because they are looking to hire an emp… read more
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
12,124 satisfied customers

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x