Bartz Law Group

Employee Rights Advocates

Employee Rights in California

Employee Rights in California

Terminated employees have certain rights, such as the right to terminal benefits, continuing health insurance coverage, and more. Per employee rights in California labor law, terminated workers may also be entitled to unemployment compensation benefits and all perks mentioned thereon.

While employee rights under the California labor law protect workers against unfair labor practices, they can take extra measures to protect themselves after a job loss.

Employee Rights After a Job Termination

You cannot protect yourself if you don’t understand your rights and terms of engagement.

At-Will Employment

Most employment contracts are “at will.” Under these arrangements, an employer can terminate an employee at any time and for any reason, as long as the termination doesn’t violate the law or the terms of your agreement. However, a wrongful termination can arise if:

  • The employment relationship is implied. Implied contracts arise if continuous employment is guaranteed, the employer violated termination guidelines or the employment duration.
  • An employee is terminated contrary to public policy. For instance, firing someone for participating in jury duty, serving in the military, complaining about malpractice, or refusing to commit an illegality.


Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination against existing and prospective employees based on the protected characteristics of employment, including race, skin color, age, national origin, disability, religious and political affiliations, and more.


Employers cannot fire their employees for speaking out about illegality or reporting unlawful activity. Common malpractices in the workplace can include sexual harassment, discrimination, or violating the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).

Employee Rights After a Job Termination 

Final Paycheck

You are entitled to receive your final paycheck after job termination. The laws of issuing employees their last paycheck can vary by jurisdiction.  

California employees must get their final paycheck immediately if they were fired or if they gave a 72-hour notice. Employees who fail to give notice should receive their compensation after 72 hours. A contractual agreement between an employee and employer can invalidate the laws governing the issuance of a final paycheck.

Severance Pay

A severance agreement allows terminated employees to receive their final pay. Additionally, the employer is released from all liabilities and future claims.

Severance pay can include:

  • Lump sum payment;
  • Health insurance;
  • Continuing payments for several years, and
  • The services of an outplacement program.

Employers are not obligated to offer severance pay to terminated employees as per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The terms of your employment agreement determine your eligibility for severance pay.  

Health Coverage

Terminated employees are entitled to health insurance coverage for a limited duration. This right is protected under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1986. Businesses with 20 or more employees must give their employees the option to continue participating in the health insurance plan provided by their former employers. However, former employees must pay for their coverage.

Unemployment Compensation

Terminated employees can receive unemployment compensation in some cases. This perk helps qualified employees to cater to their needs as they transition to their new jobs or as they search for employment.

In California, terminated employees have certain rights.  Consult an employment lawyer today to discover your rights.