I live in California. I occupied a position for 8 months, where I sometimes worked from home (on a company’s laptop computer) sometimes on-site (on company’s desktop computer).

Everything seemed to go well, and it seemed my performance was good and my coworkers were happy with me. The following events occurred within one day.

8:30AM: I am given a new project, that I start working on on the company’s laptop from my home

10:30AM: I receive an email on my personal email account informing me of my termination, without any details or explanation, and asking me to return equipment and pick up personal belongings on-site. Immediately, my professional email account is deleted by my supervisors without warning (containing both professional and personal data, such as health coverage, etc) .

01:30PM: While I am on my way to return company equipment and pick up my belongings, my supervisor sends me a text message warning me that I am not allowed on the premises and that the exchange of equipment will happen in the hall of the building. My belongings were packed for me and brought to me. My supervisor refused any comments or explanations “I can’t tell you anything”. I wasn’t allowed near the desktop computer I used for 8 months to verify and delete myself any personal data, my supervisor told me that they would “take care of it”.

03:18 PM: I receive an email telling me that my final pay has been emitted.

No other document was given to me.

After looking for the procedures to apply for unemployment insurance, I found that the California Code of Regulations, title 22, section 1089-1, subdivisions (d)(1) and (2) states that a “notice of change in employee relationship” should be given to the former employee, no further than the effective date of termination.” This wasn’t the case.

I find suspicious that I wasn’t allowed to delete my own personal information from the company’s desktop computer. I know it contained personal passwords and data of various nature (phone numbers used for email authentication, backup email addresses, code snippets, etc).

Considering the termination didn’t happen face to face, without a warning, without witnesses, without reasons or examples, without kindness concern or respect, without any way to communicate with my former colleagues what happened, and through a misleading private and undocumented procedure, was this termination carried out in a legal way, according to California law?

  • 2
    I would recommend contacting an attorney versed in Californian employment law.
    – user4823
    Jan 23, 2017 at 3:07
  • 1
    I thought only the University of Michigan and certain intermediaries from India engaged in such repugnant practices. That type of at-will employers should warn upfront that they entitle themselves to exercise unwarranted humiliation during an unexpected termination. Regardless of any procedural or contractual obligations pertaining to termination, the employer might have incurred spoliation of the evidence if the deleted emails contained evidence that the employer abused statutory provisions and/or that the employer violated public policy as derived from at-will employment doctrine. Jun 24, 2018 at 11:02

1 Answer 1


Generally speaking, termination does not require a specific procedure. There could be contractual terms that have to be followed, and the reason for the firing might be illegal (such as your race). The regulation you mention pertains to insurance, not firing an employee, so subsection (d) can't be construed as forbidding firing of an employee without following a notification procedure. The regulation does require certain written notices, and it is alleged that failure to comply with the requirement is a misdemeanor.

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