Legal Question in Business Law in California

Does the President of a small corporatio do the firing ?

Asked on 7/12/13, 7:45 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

The right to "fire" an employee is determined, not so much by law, but by company policy as laid out in its bylaws, personnel policy manual. Of course, ultimately, authority to run a company, including decisions affecting who shall be its employees, comes from the board of directors, who act through the officers they appoint. The President is the highest ranking among them.

Frequently, we at LawGuru get questions regarding the relative powers of various individuals who have gotten together to start and run a small business, often a small corporation. Often, the question really involves the conflicting rights and powers of the founder-investor who becomes the president, versus the founder-investor(s) who assume other (lesser) roles, and sometimes the conflict has to do with hiring and firing. Sensing that there may be a power struggle at this small corporation, I'd hesitate to say whether the president, in your particular situation, was acting within the scope of his authority in firing the particular person. Was the person fired "merely" an employee, or also a founder, stockholder, etc.?

In sum, I'd say the corporate president often, probably generally, has the authority to fire subordinates -- but without more context and background, I for sure can't say yes, 100%, always.

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Answered on 7/12/13, 8:51 pm

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