Focus On Employment Law

Labor Code Section 2922 creates a presumption that the employment is at will, meaning that absent proof of a contrary agreement, an employer may discharge an employee at any time and for any reason.

However, at-will employment usually does not apply to union employees since under collective bargaining agreements, they may not be discharged without "just cause."

Also, employers are prohibited by federal and state laws from terminating employees on the basis of their age, race, sex, religion, disability, etc. Other state laws prohibit discharge or disciplining of an employee for:

  • Political affiliation
  • Filing a complaint with the Labor Commissioner
  • Filing a worker's compensation claim
  • Complaining about workplace safety
  • Disclosing employer's illegal acts to governmental authorities
  • Garnishment of employee's wages
  • Taking time off, after reasonable notice to the employer, for family care or medical leave as provided by the California Family Rights Act or under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Taking time off to participate in school activities of your child
  • Record of arrest or detention that did not result in criminal conviction
  • Illiteracy that does not affect the employee's satisfactory job performance
  • Disclosing the amount of employee's own wages
  • Employee's bankruptcy
  • And many other acts