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Contract employees and termination

Termination for any or no reason is often acceptable under the at-will doctrine for those who do not have a written or implied contract. However, when an employee in California has an employment agreement, the employer has less discretion in the matter. Chron.com explains that the contract typically spells out the process that must be undertaken, or the activities that may be grounds for ending the contract before its completion date. These include the following:

  •          Elimination of the job or reduction in workforce
  •          Misrepresentation
  •          Extreme immoral conduct or offensive behavior
  •          Unmet contract terms or failure to perform job duties

According to the State of California Department of Industrial Relations, there are many laws that address specific situations where an employer may not legally terminate an employee. For example, a worker has the right to serve jury duty, and is generally protected when he or she needs to appear in court for other reasons, as well.

Employees who have been the victim of violence, or who have a child who is a victim, may take leave from work in order to ensure that health and safety are restored. Sick leave may be used when an employee’s immediate family member requires care during an illness, as well. If the employee is an emergency response volunteer, such as a firefighter, health care provider or reserve peace officer, or if the employee is a member of a State-sponsored disaster medical response organization, the employer cannot fire him or her for taking time off from work to serve in these capacities. 

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