Articles Tagged with “at will” employment

He may have looked the part, spoken well in the interview, and had the right experience. In fact, he seemed like a great fit for your company. It’s only after a few months that you realize why he was available in the first place. Employees who clearly engage in wrongful conduct such as sexual harassment, violation of company policies, or constant tardiness are often easier to terminate than employees who aren’t the right fit for the corporate environment. San Jose businesses may fear wrongful termination litigation after firing an employee for causing dissent among the staff or failing to embody corporate values. California, like most states, is an “at will” employment state. This means that absent a contract, you have the right to terminate an employee at any time and for any reason that doesn’t violate state or federal law.

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Avoiding Wrongful Termination Lawsuits in California – 2 exceptions to the rule

1. Although California is an “at will” employment state, there are two notable exceptions to this rule. First, an employee with an employment contract may be protected from a termination “without cause.” This means that there must be a justifiable reason for her termination as defined in the employment contract. The employee may also be entitled to certain notice and disciplinary warnings before termination. We can review any employment contracts at issue to ensure a termination complies with these provisions.

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It is always advisable for employers to have an employee handbook, which will contain important information that protects you legally. Even if a company only has a few employee, without a handbook, it might expose itself to the greater risk of a lawsuit regarding sexual harassment, wrongful termination, and other wrongful treatment of employees.

What to Include in Your Handbook

A handbook is a great reference for employees, who can return to the handbook if they have questions. A handbook also forces employers to carefully consider their philosophy and the rules of the business. An adequate handbook should contain:

Fotolia_206780729_Subscription_Monthly_M-300x129Hiring a new employee is an important business decision that can impact your business’s success. You must take the necessary steps to protect both your business and keep your employee happy, especially today when the unemployment rate is at a historic low . If your San Jose business is considering hiring a new employee, there are some things you might consider.

Confidentiality Agreement

Your business likely has certain information it must keep confidential. This might be company trade secrets, business methods, and sensitive employee or customer data and information. Liability concerns and legal compliance with laws (e.g., HIPPA) require a business to have safeguards in place. One of these safeguards might include a confidentiality agreement.  A confidentiality agreement is a specially crafted legal agreement that an employee signs upon acceptance of his or her employment, or inherently agrees to through the employee handbook. The agreement should include remedies if an employee breaches the confidentiality agreement. A skilled San Jose business attorney can assist your business in drafting the necessary agreement tailored to your business’s needs.

As the owner of a corporation, LLC, or other business, you want employees on your team who improve efficiency and increase profits. However, as cautious as you may be during the hiring process, there is always the chance that an employee may become a problem. In some cases, talking to an employee and discussing an issue can result in them changing their behavior for the better. In other cases, behavior may get worse. You may be getting complaints from your customers, vendors or even other employees. In such cases, it may be best to terminate the employment relationship.

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 Often, the problem is that not many people take getting fired lightly.  While California is an “at-will” employment state, meaning employees can be fired for any legal reason (e.g., non-discriminatory) or no reason at all, many people get angry and look for a reason to hold the business accountable for their job loss, even if it did nothing wrong. For example, if you excuse a male employee for being late regularly yet fire a female employee for tardiness, you may be accused of sex discrimination. Allegations of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination can be made. Even if such allegations are unfounded, you could have to spend valuable time, energy, and money defending against these claims.

The experienced employment law attorneys at Structure Law Group, LLP can help you establish employment practices and employee handbooks that will allow the employment process to run more smoothly.  The following are some things to consider when firing a problem employee:

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