california labor law

Every state is provided the opportunity to define their labor laws. From terminations to doctor’s notes, these laws determine just how companies can handle their employees when it comes to adverse action. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation about California labor law, leading to confusion both in employee/employer interaction and when reviewing a background check. 

Employment screening is a tool that can be utilized to hopefully weed out anyone that would need to be terminated, and provide a company with a lasting employee/employer relationship.  Knowing a person’s past through a criminal search can alleviate the need to consider termination.

Federal laws are in place to protect all persons from being fired based on age, sex, race, religion, national origin, or handicapping condition. With these things in mind, states create their employment laws which provide a guideline for handling terminations. These same laws can also function as a tool for employees to build a case against wrongful termination. 

In The Golden State, there are some fairly common employee-employer actions that aren’t required by California labor law. Employers and employees must be clear on these items listed below, as these are common causes or methods of terminating employment which have no recourse by an employee.

Three Day, No-Call, No-Show 

If an employee doesn’t show up to work, it is up to each employer to consider how they will handle a no-show. There is no California labor law in place that dictates the number of days an employee has to miss before termination.

No Verbal or Written Warning Under California Labor Law

California is an at-will state, which means an employee can be terminated without any warning.  There are actually no federal laws that require a certain number of warnings, either. Warnings, however, do create a sense of fairness and offer the employee an opportunity to improve his or her performance.

Mailing A Final Paycheck  

Suppose an employee quits with less than 72 hours’ notice and makes the request to have a final paycheck mailed. California labor law does not require the employer to mail the check. The only legal issue that comes into play is the need for the employer to hold the paycheck at the location paychecks are issued so that the terminated employee can pick it up.

Severance Pay  

As California is an at-will state, there is no requirement for wages to be paid beyond the hours actually worked by an employee. Typically, the belief is that there should be no less than two weeks’ severance pay. California’s at-will status eliminates this need.

Doctor’s Note Does Not Secure Employment Under California Labor Law

If an employee has suffered an illness, the typical request from an employer is to have the employee provide a note from a doctor to verify their absence. Under California labor law, this type of note, while asked for, is not a guarantee that an employer will hold a position for an employee.

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