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I am being written up and treated unfairly at work - what are my options?

San Diego, CA |

I've been working for this company for 15 years...never had any problems and I get along well with everyone. Recently we got new management and I feel like I'm being targeted and that they are trying to push me out. They gave me a final write sighting a negative attitude. The write up had false information on it and I have documents that dismisses all their allegations. I feel they are just looking for something/amnything so that they can fire me. Do I have any rights?

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Attorney answers 3


The question that needs to be addressed is why is your new manager targeting you? If you believe it is discriminatory, due to your gender, age (if over 40), race, national origin, disability or some other characteristic which is protected by law or in retaliation for engaging in an activity protected by law, the actions of the employer may be unlawful.

However, you should be aware that unless restricted by contract, most employees may be terminated at the will of the employer. This means employers do not have to be fair, reasonable or nice. If you are terminated for unfair reasons which are not unlawful or restricted by contract, there is little that can be done, legally.

If you disagree with the basis for the write-ups, you should respond, in writing, on a point by point basis in a professional manner and ask to have it placed in your personnel file. It may not change the outcome but at least you are not allowing the falsehoods go unrefuted.

If you believe the employer is trying to terminate you for unlawful reasons, consult with an employment lawyer in your area for a better case evaluation.

They say you get what you pay for, and this response is free, so take it for what it is worth. This is my opinion based on very limited information. My opinion should not be taken as legal advice. For true advice, we would require a confidential consultation where I would ask you questions and get your complete story. This is a public forum, so remember, nothing here is confidential. Nor am I your attorney. I do not know who you are and you have not hired me to provide any legal service. To do so would require us to meet and sign written retainer agreement. My responses are intended for general information only.


Mr. Kirschbaum provided good advice and I agree with his perspective. To help you figure out whether there is anything unlawful going on, please read my guide to at-will employment in California which should help you understand your rights now and in the future: Something in the guide may point you in the right direction. Also, take a look at my guide to unlawful discrimination:, which may also help you analyze your situation.

Employment law is complicated and fact specific. If you think something unlawful is going on, you may wish to speak with an experienced plaintiffs employment attorney. To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in California, please go to the web site of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA). CELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the state for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is, and you can search for attorneys by location and practice area.

I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.

*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***


Your hunch is probably correct.

Is there any reason you believe that the new management is targeting you? Unless there is unlawful discrimination, most employees may be terminated at the will of the employer.

I suggest you respond to any write-ups in writing if you do not agree.

However, if you suspect that the new management is attempting to fire you for an unlawful reason, please consult with an employment lawyer to discuss the facts of your situation in depth.

Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.

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