What are employer’s rights and what type of attorney should employer seek?

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What are employer’s rights and what type of attorney should employer seek?

Calfiornia. Fulltime employee found out they were to be fired that evening for consistent insubordination after many consults. Employee went to therapist that morning to get 30 day stress leave letter. When employee submitted letter, they were fired and given final check. Refused check. Small business. Fewer than 10 employees. Employed approx 6 years. What are employer’s rights? What type of attorney should employer seek for advise to protect self?

Asked on March 16, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The employee may not have any rights in the situation you describe. An employee may be fired for insubordination, even if he or she is under stress or presents a "stress leave" letter; being stressed is not a disability for which the law provides protection. (Consider: if it was grounds to resist termination, nobody would ever be fired, because everyone is stressed at work.) Conversely, an employer has a perfect right to fire an insubordinate employee, especially one who has had "multiple consults" about the issue. An employee is not obligated to provide leave to/for an employee, unless the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or similar state law is implicated--but employers with only 10 employees are not covered by the law (and again, "stress" probably would not be a serious enough condition to invoke the law, anyway).

Therefore, from what you write, the employer should not have to protect itself, and had the right to do what it did. That said, all lawsuits should be taken seriously, so if sued--or you believe a suit likely--consult with an employment law attorney. Good luck.


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