Legal Question in Employment Law in California

I was just fired from my job today. I was under a process called a PIP which is like a review process. Now to start with according to company policy before some one is placed on a PIP they are to be given a warning, which I did not receive. Second the main part of my PIP claimed that my attitude towards another department was poor, and this is what they were mainly going off of. Two things with that, the department I was working with has said that I have been nothing but great with them and I have proof of that. The second thing is that the two people that they claimed came to them we're actually approached by someone that was on the team I was works no with. I have spoken to those two people after wards and they said that they realize that what was going on at the time that my attitude was "poor" with them. And that it was a miss understanding at the time.

The person that approached them, the person that was on my team had also previously tried to tell me him self that my job was at risk. Not warning me but telling me flat out that if I did not improve to his standards that he would see me fired. I had approached the lead of our department about this who then approached our direct manager. My manager then yelled at me for taking over his head, and the genteel man on our team that threatened my job was only told no.

What I would like to find out is do I have any legal recourse for being fired. First that they did not even start the PIP process according to company policy correctly, and second I feel that my termination was personal. Also the manner that they went about my termination was false, I was lured into believing that we were going to be talking about me changing departments, as the department I was in had finished there goal. They lured me in by saying that is what was going to happen, that it was to be a conversation about what department I would be going to next.

Asked on 7/15/13, 12:55 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Kristine Karila Law Office of Kristine S. Karila
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If you were an at-will employee (no written contract specifying how long you will be employed), your employer can fire you at any time for any lawful reason, just as you can quit at anytime for any reason. Lawful reasons are any reason that is not based on a protected class (age, race, gender, religion, pregnancy, disability, etc., or if you were fired BECAUSE you asked about a legal right (example: overtime pay) or BECAUSE you were a whistlebloser (turned the company into the government for violations of the law (example: pollution, IRS, etc.). Your employer does not need to follow their own rules with regard to the PIP process, etc. unless by not doing so, they unlawfully discriminated against you because you are a member of a protected class (see above.) Your employer had a duty to provide your final paycheck to you on the date of firing, including any earned and unused PTO or vacation time (not sick leave.) If you have not received your final check yet, call an employment law attorney to discuss. If you file a claim with the EDD for unemployment benefits, just keep your answer simple: I was fired (don't say "laid off") because of a personality conflict with a co-worker. If you make it complicated for EDD, they may require a hearing before granting unemployment compensation.

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Answered on 7/15/13, 1:38 pm

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