My manger has worked for me 1 year and is being accused by a tenant of sexual harrasment , tenant claims he has proof he has done this to other tenants as well, tenant put compliant in writting to me. I will like to know if this is a valid reason to fire my employe without being sued for wrongfull termination
Your employee is your agent and you can be sued by your tenant for his actions if you know about it and do not do anything about it. You need to do an investigation before you make a final decision to fire him. Talk to him about it and talk to the tenants about it. California is what is called an "at-will" state. That means employees can be fired at will at any time for any reason unless there is a contract or a union or if you are firing someone because of an illegal reason such as race, gender, sexual orientation or any other protected category. This does not appear to be the case. By doing an investigation you are giving him an opportunity to point out if he thinks you are not treating him fairly and have singled him out. The investigation will help you protect yourself if he does decide to take any kind of action.
LAW OFFICE OF PAMELA PITT
The prudent thing to do is to suspend your employee, pending an investigation, then hire an attorney to investigate the facts. The attorney can interview witnesses and examine any tangible evidence and then advise you what action to take.
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.
Pamela and Michael give sound advice. Please remember in the future that an employer does not have to find good cause to fire an employee. You don't need a good reason. So many small employers seem to think there needs to be a good reason. This comes from a sense of fairness. However the fairness of the situation is that the employee can quit on the spot at any time for any reason.
Good luck to you.
Pedersen Heck McQueen, APLC is an employee rights law firm assisting employees in all Southern California counties.
This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.
Agree with Neil 100%. So long as the employee is at-will, you can terminate the employee for any reason or no reason at all. The caveat is that the the basis for termination cannot be discriminatory (i.e. based upon race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, or age).
You have received some great advice here. What you should also consider, however, is what type of education and training you are giving your employees about sexual harassment on a go-forward basis. Proper training can help avoid these types of claims in the future and help protect you if claims arise. You should consult an attorney in San Diego about this.
I don't intend the foregoing to be legal advice but just a general answer to a question based on Avvo's rules. In particular, you are not my client. I am not your lawyer. For further details on this issue, you should consult an attorney.
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