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I got fired today because the manger would like to "prevent safety issues"

Chula Vista, CA |

I'm an auto mechanic and I damaged some auto parts because the shop doesn't have the proper equipment. I got suspended for 4 days during this time I found a job posting for my position which made it very obvious that the manager was going to fire me. So why suspend me first? He had no legitimate reason to let me go, he claims he is doing it to prevent any future problems caused by my work. Safety issues have never resulted from my work but he is assuming that they will so he's letting me go. Is this legal ?

Attorney Answers 3


You were probably suspended to give the employer time to prepare your last paycheck. This is a fairly common practice, especially when payroll is processed by a third-party payroll service. If you were fired on the spot, the employer would have been required to pay you immediately.

Unless you have an employment contract or are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, there is no such thing as a "legitimate reason" to let you go. As an at-will employee, you can terminate your employment at any time, and so can your employer.

This answer is provided as a general opinion to a question posted on an internet forum. This does not create in either party the expectation that an attorney-client relationship has been entered into between the original poster and the answering attorney. Any information provided should not be taken as legal advice but in the context of general information. Please seek legal representation for any specific legal questions.

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In California an employer can fire an employee for any reason (except unlawful reasons like race or age discrimination or harassment, etc.). So yes, it was lawful for the employer to terminate your employment citing safety issues. The employer didn't have to cite any reason.

This response is intended to provide only general information on the topic presented by the question above, and not to be treated as legal advice. No attorney client relationship is intended to be created by this posting.

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I agree with my colleagues. In California, the general rule is that an employer can terminate an at-will employee for any reason, no reason. Even if the reason the employer gives the employee is an obvious lie (which happens a lot). What an employer cannot do is terminate you for reasons related to your membership in a "protected class," meaning race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, etc. Nor can an employer terminate you for a "protected activity" such as asserting a right to be paid overtime or for being a whistle blower. Thus, your termination based on safety issues, even if completely false, is legal.

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