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I have a friend in CA who has worked as a valet for the last year. He got fired today from his job. I want to know if he has any legal grounds for discrimination because he feels he was terminated unfairly. I am completely unaware of state laws regarding this so I've only just started to poke around online, but if anyone here can give me a definitive answer that would be great. So, here's the story:
He started working as a valet about a year ago. When he was hired, he had a full beard and was told that it was fine as long as he kept it neat. In December he showed up to work about half an hour late and was written up for it in January, and he acknowledged he was in the wrong. In May, he showed up about 20 minutes late. In both situations, when he showed up, he didn't actually have any cars to park until about an hour later (he wasn't "at his post" on time, so they were not happy about it). He was not written up for his second late arrival, spoke to his supervisor about it and she told him not to worry about it. He says in the past couple of months he has felt definite animosity from his direct supervisor, for no reason he could pinpoint.
While explaining the situation to me, he was careful to point out that most of his coworkers are in their early twenties and several have shown up to work either hung over or late for no discernible reason, or have not shown up to work altogether. That doesn't really pertain to the situation, I know, but it's just a contextual thing -- no one he works with is a perfect employee.
So last week he called in sick (legitimately, had a 102 degree fever) and left a message letting them know he was ill. He received a call back saying "we have your shifts covered for the rest of the week, when you are feeling better you need to come back in and talk to the GM". He came in today (he was sick saturday, sunday and they are closed monday) and was told "your appearance is unacceptable, you're unreliable, and you're not supposed to switch shifts" (which he had done at the very beginning but then stopped when he learned that's not how it was done).
He pointed out to his boss that he looks exactly the same as when he was hired, that he has been reliable except for 3 isolated instances in the past year, and he refused to sign the paper citing the reasons for his "dispatchment", because he didn't believe the terms were fair.
Now all you folks familiar with CA law, did his employer do anything wrong? I think it's a bit excessive to fire him with only one write up, personally, but I'm in another state and don't really know. Obviously this doesn't fall under discrimination due to race/sex/religion, but fired for his appearance when it hadn't really changed seems a bit...frivolous. Opinions? Facts? Thanks for any knowledge provided