Texas employers who fire employees for failing to comply with federal immigration laws needn't fear that doing so will mean that the employees can later collect unemployment compensation payments. When employees are terminated because they have not provided work authorization papers, you can protest the unemployment application on the basis of "misconduct."
Case in point: Cruz Santillan worked for Wal-Mart as an overnight stocker and greeter. Because she isn't a U.S. citizen, she can work only if she obtains employment authorization documents from the Justice Department.
Santillan was hurt on the job and took disability leave. While out, she allowed her work documents to expire. When she was cleared to return, Wal-Mart terminated her because she no longer had valid documents. She applied for unemployment, but Wal-Mart successfully opposed her application because of "misconduct."
Because the Texas Labor Code defines misconduct as including intentional violation of a law or violation of a policy or rule adopted to ensure the orderly work and the safety of employees, misconduct includes failing to renew work papers. (Santillan v. Wal-Mart, No. 08-05-00183 CV, Texas Court of Appeals, 2006)
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