|1. Is it a legal requirement that
employees must receive an employment contract ?
||No, however, certain employment situations
can cause courts to imply contracts not to terminate
employment other than for 'cause'
|2. What factors constitute
a fair dismissal i.e.legally justifiable reasons to
terminate employment without the need to pay compensation?
||In the absence of a contract, employment
may be terminated at any time for any reason, without
any requirement to pay compensation. However, employers
are at risk of liability for termination in certain
cases, e.g. discrimination; in response to claims for
compensation due to a work related injury or illness.
Federal law requires at least 60 days notice of a 'mass
|3. What is good practice
with regard to dismissal procedures to minimise the
risk of claims for unfair dismissal?
||Employers should have a written policy
acknowledged by the employee that employment is at will
and may be terminated - therefore there are no specific
|4. If an employee
is dismissed unfairly what is the financial range of
compensation that can be made to employees?
||If there is an unlawful reason for
termination, an ex-employee can obtain damages for back
pay, and damages for future loss of earnings.
|5. Do employees have
the right to be members of a trade union?
||Yes, and under Federal and Californian
law employees may not be fired for belonging to a union.
NB. California has a 'closed shop' law. Some other states
prohibit 'closed shops'.
|6. Is there any legal
requirement for an employer to contribute to a pension
||No, except for mandatory social security
|7. What are standard
||Federal law: private
employers of 50 or more employees - up to 12 weeks of
unpaid leave - no distinction between male or female.
California law: private employers of more than 5 employees
- up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, but this can be aggregated
with other time off benefits so that up to 28 weeks
leave is possible (in a 12 month period). From July
1 2004 workers will receive up to 6 weeks of paid leave
per year for childcare or care of an ill dependent.
This programme is 100% employee funded.
|8. What are parental
leave rights (including paternity leave)?
|9. When are employees
eligible for redundancy payments?
||There are no legal requirements
for redundancy payments, although many private employers
have voluntary adopted plans.
|10. What are the
statutory redundancy payment limits?
|11. Can existing
employees be dismissed if you buy a business with employees?
||Yes, but there is distinction between
asset and stock purchases, as in the latter case the
employer is unchanged.
|12. Any other general
||Federal and California law in relation
to discrimination, wages and hours; conditions of employment.