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Another reason to insist on following rules: Fired scofflaws can’t get unemployment

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in Firing,Human Resources

Does your organization have strict honesty rules designed to prevent employee theft and fraud? If so, rest assured that you’ll have just cause for firing employees who break those rules.

And that means they won’t be eligible for unemployment compensation.

Recent case: Tammy Risinger worked for a Kroger grocery store for over two decades when she was fired for what the company called fraudulent coupon redemption.

Risinger allegedly obtained manufacturers’ coupons for infant formula and brought them to the store, where she asked a co-worker to place the coupons’ value on a gift card. Then she used the gift card to buy a different brand of formula than the one the coupons were for.

When confronted, Risinger said she had bought the coupon brand in the prior month and that customers were allowed to redeem coupons on past purchases. But she couldn’t prove that she had made earlier qualifying purchases. Kroger fired her for fraud.

She filed for unemployment, but was turned down. Kroger explained that neither customers nor employees are allowed to redeem coupons for gift cards used on other products. Therefore, it had fired Risinger for cause. It explained that both customers and employees could redeem coupons for past purchases and receive cash or a gift card—but since Risinger hadn’t made a past purchase, her coupon usage was fraudulent. The court agreed. (Risinger v. The Kroger Company, No. 09-CA-129, Court of Appeals of Ohio, 5th Appellate District, 2010)

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