Employment in California is presumed to be terminable “at will,” i.e., employees can be fired for any reason (unless it’s an illegal reason) without warning. See Lab C §2922. This often comes as a surprise to employees who expect to get notice before their employment is terminated. That some employers adopt progressive disciplinary policies may make it even more confusing.
Employers walk a fine line when it comes to employee discipline: they must enforce their rules while also protecting employee rights. Target seems to have missed the mark recently—a lawsuit alleges an employee committed suicide after his public shaming that was part of discipline following an accusation against him of theft. To help employers stay on track, apply this discipline checklist in every situation.