Was it legal if I was recently laid off with no explanation?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Was it legal if I was recently laid off with no explanation?

I was told that it had to do with performance, however I was given no detailed list of issues that came from performance and no record of any performance improvement plan. When asked they hemmed and hah’ed and I was still not given a tangible answer. I have also been waiting for a severance check that was promised to me in a contract that I signed. What recourse do I have?

Asked on July 11, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) No explanation is legally required. Unless you had a written employment contract to the contrary, which contract was still in effect (unexpired), you were an employee at will, had no right to or guaranty of a job, and could be terminated at any time, for any reason, without explanation.
2) However, if you did have a written employment contract which only allowed you to be terminated for certain defined reasons and your termination violates that contract, you could sue for "breach of contract" for reinstatement and/or monetary compensation.
3) If you signed a severance or other contract which guaranted you severance, then so long as you have done whatever the contract required you to do, you are legally entitled to the money and could sue the employer for "breach of contract" to get it. If the amount at stake is less than or equal to the limit for small claims court, suing in small claims, as your own attorey ("pro se") is a fast, cost-effective option.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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