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What are his rights? California

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  • What are his rights? California

    My husband works for a beverage company in CA and is currently on suspension pending an investigation regarding his supposed "theft" of a single drink just because they have a video of him drinking it in the backroom of a store (because he was told he could not drink it on the floor by a DM of his company). I'm trying to get some insight on what his rights are if they do terminate him.

    first off I know that CA is an "at will" state so they can fire him for any reason what so ever and there is nothing we can do. BUT if he has proof that he did not steal this (ie - a receipt) can they still state the reason for termination as "suspicion of stealing" when this proves that he didn't? I worry that this would affect his chances of getting another job within a reasonable amount of time for us to not lose our house (we're renting) or our car, if they give this reason for him being terminated.

    Secondly - if they do end up terminating him will this make us ineligible for cobra due to "gross negligence"? and if we were denied cobra on those grounds and appealed, how good would our chances of actually being successful at that if he can prove to cobra that he didn't steal. How about unemployment? would it make him ineligible for that?

    Third - what rights does he have to seeing the files for this investigation on him if he's terminated? how about seeing his personnel files about this incident? how about this video that they have of him drinking the drink? legally do they HAVE to show him this? (they didn't let him see it at the original meeting).

    and lastly in CA is there a set amount of time that they can keep him on suspension before they have to fire him and give him his final pay and vacation pay?

    I have a feeling they're trying to get him to quit just so they don't have to unemployment and the such, since they have no solid proof that he stole anything.
    Last edited by blackrose; 03-03-2009, 07:26 PM.

  • #2
    Firing him for "suspicion of stealing" would not be a lie; he was "suspected". An employer is not a court of law and the rules of evidence do not apply in the workplace.

    "Gross negligence" is not defined in the COBRA law. Standard rule of thumb in most companies is, if you can't prosecute for it, it's not "gross negligence" to the extent that COBRA benefits would not be offered.

    California law does require the employer to let the employee review his personnel file and receive a copy of anything he has signed. The law also requires that the employer place into the file any rebuttal that the employee wants to submit. Hold on for confirmation that his would apply to ex-employees (if it comes to that) as well.

    No, the time limit for a suspension is not addressed by law. However, if he is on suspension now, he can file for UI benefits; whether he would receive them or not (after the one week waiting period) is up to the state. There is really no reason for the employer to stretch the suspension out any longer than is necessary for them to make a decision. If he is discharged at that time, any accrued vacation would be due on the termination date.
    Last edited by Pattymd; 03-04-2009, 03:07 AM.
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    • #3
      what about unemployment? are we most likely going to have to go through an entire ordeal of appealing this over and over since (if it comes to it) they'll have fired him for suspicion and nothing that they can solidly prove?

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      • #4
        There is no way we can know if he will receive UI benefits. It will be up to the state. He can only apply & see & appeal if denied.
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