California is an “employment-at-will” state. Therefore, an employer may generally terminate an employment relationship at any time and for any reason unless a collective bargaining agreement, employment contract, existing law, or recognized public policy provides otherwise.
Despite the statutory presumption in favor of the at-will standard, however, the California courts recognize that an implied contract may be formed by statements in an employee handbook. In examining such a claim, courts may look at factors such as the employer's personnel policies or practices, the employee's longevity of service, actions and communications by the employer that seem to assure continuing employment, and regular practices of the employer's industry (Guz v. Bechtel National, Inc., 8 P.3d 1089 (Cal. 2000)).