In the state of California, employment is at-will. This implies that as long as the basis for the termination is legitimate, either party may end the employment relationship at any moment. An employee who has been unlawfully terminated from their position, however, may sue your company for wrongful termination.
It is crucial to establish, prior to firing an employee, that your choice was motivated by their acts or conduct rather than anything related to a protected characteristic, such as their gender or race. The following four causes can lead to legally firing an employee:
1. Drug use and abuse on the job
To carry out their responsibilities safely and effectively, every employee must have a sound mind. It’s never acceptable to show up to work inebriated. Drug and alcohol abuse at work can result in catastrophic incidents that put your company at risk. An employer may notice that their employee is using drugs or alcohol on the job if the employee has a dramatic change in personality or fails to do their job.
2. Dramatic changes in work performance
Speaking of an employee failing to do their job, an employee’s work performance can lead to termination. An employee who regularly fails to fulfill their role – even after conversation and performance reviews – could jeopardize a company.
3. Violence toward others
As an employer, it’s your job to ensure the safety of your employees. That means removing obstacles that would risk injuring your employees. An employee with aggressive behavior may put your other employees’ safety at risk.
4. Theft of any kind
It’s important to trust your employees. But, an employee could take advantage of this trust and steal from your company. This could be simple things like office supplies or it could be trade secrets. Whatever the case may be, your employee is acting with malicious behavior.
It’s important to understand your rights and establish the cause for an employee’s termination. If an employee feels as though they were wrongfully terminated, you may need to build a strong legal defense.