6 Legal Considerations Before Firing Employees in California

Firing employees is not an easy decision to make. You, as an employer, should always think how to fire the current employees without offending them. If you think that your employees are not good enough, or maybe you cannot keep workers anymore, you will have to think how to handle firing. Keep on reading this article to learn how to fire employees in California.

Note* According to California Labor Code, California is an at-will employment state. To explain, at-will employment is a term used in U.S. labor law for contractual relationships in which an employee can be dismissed by an employer for any reason (that is, without having to establish “just cause” for termination), and without warning.

Before firing an employee you should consider the following 6 things.

The reason for firing 

As we have already said, employees can be fired for any reason or no reason at all. But you might get into a serious trouble for firing them for no reason. There may be employees who might ask you to provide a reason if you have not provided any. Invite a third person, for example, your HR manager or a lawyer to your meeting as a witness to support you in informing your employees about their firing.

Do not fire people because of their age, nationality, religion. In such cases, you can face a lawsuit for employment discrimination.

Be honest with your reasons

When you just say “well, you are a good worker, but you cannot provide the results I need,” this may provide a basis for a lawsuit if they feel like you did not tell them the real reason for firing them.

Close all the access for fired employees

When you have fired your employees do not let them linger in the office. Turn off your ex-employees’ access over all the employer properties. To explain, take the keys, key cards and other devices used to access the workplace, as well as laptops, cell phones, etc.

Pay attention to the contract

If your workers have an employment contract, follow the rules of it when firing them. And when the relationship between you and your employees is governed by a collective agreement, this agreement will take control over the questions about how and when employees can be fired.

Take into account your employees’ personal lives

Before making a decision to fire your employees, look through their personal documents. Make sure you have enough documentation to provide the reasons you are firing your employees for. Find out if there is anything that may be evidence of an illegal firing. For example, one of your employees is often late because she is pregnant. If you find likewise information, it is better to consult an attorney before making a decision to fire her.

Consider your employees’ final paycheck

Employees must receive their final paychecks for their work performed through firing date. In this case, the reasons for firing do not matter. You sometimes may choose when to pay your ex-workers, for example, at the end of the month. You should also think whether you owe them any money for overtime work. In this case, you must pay your employees immediately.

So, before making a decision about firing employees, you should consider some steps. Still, if you work in California, remember, you can fire your employees for any reason or no reason at all.

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Armen Margarian

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