My son was terminated without any termination papers or clear details for the termination is that legal? He clocked in on a Friday then his manager immediately told him that he was being suspended pending investigation of a customer complaint and was sent home. He works in sports retail. Nothing was in writing and nothing was heard until a week later on a Friday he was called in, given his last check and terminated still nothing in writing and no clear detail as to what the actual customer complaint was. Shouldn't there have been something in writing? Can he apply for unemployment and how does he explain this on his resume and future job interviews?
An employer does not have to give a reason for the termination. Yes, he can apply for unemployment, and if the employer opposes it, he certainly will find out the reason for the termination.
As to future job interviews, while he cannot lie, he does not know the reason for the termination (or even if the alleged customer complaint was the reason for the termination). Therefore, he does not have to bring up the "complaint". He can just say he was terminated.
I don't know if California allows an employee to get access the their personnel file - it is worth seeking a free consultation with an area attorney, or perhaps one of my California compatriots will chime in.
This response is only general information and is not legal advice. It does not form an attorney-client relationship and should not be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. You should seek a qualified attorney before taking any action related to your inquiry.
Your son has a right to make a written request to inspect his personnel file. His employer will have 30 days from your son's written request to make his personnel file available. If his employer doesn't make it available, your son can get a $750 penalty. He can see if the personnel file contains the customer's complaint or, if it was oral, a record referring to it.
But a look at the personnel file won't necessarily do your son any good. I'm sorry to say that you haven't said anything to suggest that your son's termination was illegal. In a case where a complaining "customer" is a non-employee mystery shopper, an employer might owe a civil penalty if it doesn't timely hand over a copy of the mystery shopper's questionnaire or report to the employee. But that's no consolation.
Tell your son to make sure his final check included "reporting time" pay for the two days he showed up but didn't work. He should've received four hours of pay for the first day and two for the second day. If his employer willfully failed to include "reporting time" pay in the final check, it would owe him daily "waiting time" penalties equal to his daily rate, up to a maximum of 30 days.
Assuming your son is an at will employee, which he most likely is, an employer is not required to give him any particular termination paper or anything in writing. It doesn't even have to give him a reason for the termination.
Your son has a right to his personnel file within 30 days of the request and there is a $750 penalty if the employer does not comply. The file may or may not shed light on the reasons for termination.
Your son should qualify for unemployment as long as he meets the criteria and was not terminated for misconduct. Misconduct is specifically defined by the EDD. You can visit their website for more details.
Disclaimer: This reply is not intended to be and does not constitute legal advice or the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. I always recommend consulting with an attorney, especially since many attorneys offer free, no-obligation consultations.
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