Can I take any actionagainst an employer gor giving me a final written warning without any previous warnings?

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Can I take any actionagainst an employer gor giving me a final written warning without any previous warnings?

I unknowingly violated the buying guidelines at my retail job. I have no previous offenses of this matte and I had never been talked to about this. I just was told that I violated them and was given a final warning corrective action. The way my retail does things is usually a coaching, a corrective and then after the third warning you are put on a final. Can I take any action against my employer for not following company policy and putting me on a final without any verbal or documented warnings. The offense can lead up to a termination but I had never done this before and no warnings given.

Asked on February 9, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you have an employment contract setting out the disciplinary policy, that is enforceable and you would have rights under it. Even if you don't have a formal contract, if there is a very strong policy manual or handbook, which does not contain limitations on its enforceability, that could be held to form an implied contract. However, if there is a policy manual or handbook, and it says anything like--

"Notwithstanding anything in this manual to the contrary, all employment is employment at will"

"This manual does not constitute a contract of employment"

"Policies may be changed at will"

--then it does not form an enforceable contract.

In the absence of an enforcable contract, your company's policies or guidelines are voluntary. That means that they choose to not follow them, and could go directly to a final written warning.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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