California Labor Law Myths And Employment Screening

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.  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 how employers handle terminations.  These same laws can also function as a tool for employees to build a case against wrongful termination.  In California, there are some fairly common employee-employer actions that aren’t required by 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 law in place that dictates the number of days an employee has to miss before termination.

Verbal And Then Written Warning.  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 offers the employee to improve his or her performance.

Mailing A Final Paycheck.  If an employee quits with less than 72 hours notice, and makes the request to have a final paycheck mailed, there is no obligation from the employer, under California law, for the check to be mailed.  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 that are 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.  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.  In California, this type of note, while asked for, is not a guarantee that an employer will hold a position for an employee.