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Understanding Your Rights When You Leave a Job

Last updated 1 year ago

Have you recently been fired? Did you quit your job? State and federal laws provide for certain rights when you leave a job. However, some of these rights vary depending on the circumstances of your departure. An employment law attorney can answer specific questions about your case, and the following will provide helpful information about your rights:

Final Pay California law states that you must be paid any outstanding wages within 72 hours if you quit without giving prior notice and without a written agreement to the contrary. If you give at least 72 hours of notice, you must be paid your outstanding wages when you leave. If you are discharged, your wages must be paid at the time you are terminated. The outstanding wages include vacation pay that you have earned but not used, but the term does not include accrued sick leave.

Severance Pay You may be entitled to severance pay if you have a written agreement providing for it or if your employer has a severance policy. However, California law does not require employers to provide severance pay to employees.

Unemployment Insurance Unemployment insurance is intended to reduce the impact of unemployment on people who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. You will be ineligible for these benefits if you are unemployed because you quit without good cause, were discharged for willful misconduct, or refused suitable work.

Health Insurance Federal law may provide you with the option of continuing your health insurance in certain circumstances, including resignation, reduction of hours, and more. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) specifies that you may have to pay the entire premium and the coverage only applies for limited periods of time.

Do you have questions about your rights? The San Jose Advocacy Center for Employment Law focuses on business litigation. Our areas of practice include rights of privacy, discrimination, employment law, and more. Call (888) 703-2911 to speak with a lawyer about your rights and to further discuss your case.


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