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Advice RE: California Labor Laws

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What is the name of your state? California.

Hi. I am an "at will" employee at a private company. I have been very unhappy with my situation at work. I feel my boss engages in unethical practices and asks me to participate at times. I am not sure if this is illegal activity or not so I am relucatant to go to HR with my complaints. There are a few other reasons why I am unhappy as well, however, this is not the point of this post.

I am pretty sure that since I am an "at will" employee, I do have the right to quit at any time without notice to my employer. Is this correct?

Additionally, I am wondering, if I do choose to give notice and my employer chooses to not allow me to work until my official last day, does my employer have to pay me for that notice period?

Finally, as far as acrued time for vacation, sick, floating holiday...is my employer required by law to pay me for all of this?

If possible, could you provide me with the CA Labor Code Section #s (I have a copy of this) so I can refer to the specific code if needed?

Thanks for your help!


Senior Member
1. At will means either party can sever the employment relationship at any time and for any reason (except the employer cannot terminate you for a specifically prohibited reason, such as due to your gender or age.) You can walk out the door right this second if you want to.

2. Your employer has no obligation to pay you for time you don't actually work. So if you give two weeks notice and they show you the door the same day, they only owe you pay for that day. You may qualify for UC benefits for the two week period they didn't allow you to work however.

3. According to my source, in CA an employer must pay for earned but unused vacation at the time of separation unless the employer's policy (or CBA) expressly calls for forfeiture of vacation upon termination. So you need to look to your employee handbook or employer's policy and see what it says. No State requires that an employer pay out unused sick time or holiday time. Sorry - I can't give you a statute on this. I'm working from summary employment law referance material.

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