Exceptions to California’s at-Will Employment Presumption

As someone who lives and works in California, you may have some understanding of California’s at-will employment doctrine, and you may recognize that it means your employer can fire you at essentially any time, and for almost any reason. There are some exceptions to the concept of at-will employment, however, and there are a number of circumstances under which your employer may not lawfully terminate you. At the Fulton Law Corporation, we have a comprehensive understanding of exceptions to California’s at-will employment doctrine, and we have helped many clients who experienced wrongful termination pursue appropriate recourse.

Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are a number of different circumstances under which your employer cannot fire you at any time, and for virtually any reason. For example, one exception to California’s at-will employment concept involves employees in unions who have coverage as a result of a collective bargaining agreement that dictates there must be “just cause” for termination.

You may also be exempt from at-will employment if you work in the public sector and have either a memorandum of understanding or existing civil service laws related to employee disciplinary measures or termination. Furthermore, employment contracts often nullify the concept of at-will employment, with many of them also requiring “just cause” for termination.

In some cases, California’s at-will employment concept may not apply to you if your employer has said or done something that circumvents the presumption of at-will employment. For example, if an employee manual states that workers have a “three strikes” policy before an employer can fire them, that employer cannot fire you after, for example, you receive only one strike. More about employment law and wrongful termination is available on our web page.

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