Can I terminate an employee for misconduct without warning?
California is an at-will employment state. This means that an employee can be fired without cause, and without warning. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, an employee cannot be fired for discriminatory reasons, or in retaliation for engaging in protected legal activity. An employer may not terminate an employee out of discrimination or in retaliation for making complaints about wage violations, such as nonpayment of minimum wage or overtime compensation. In a further example, if an employee has an oral or written contract
with their employer specifying that he or she will not be fired without 'good cause,' then the employer must provide a legitimate business reason for terminating such an employee.