Q. When will a terminated worker be denied unemployment benefits under California law?
A. If an employer can prove that a former employee was fired for “misconduct,” the worker is not eligible for unemployment benefits. To establish misconduct for this purpose, the employer must show that the conduct leading to the discharge constituted a substantial disregard of the standard of behavior that the employer has a right to expect of employees.
The employer must prove that the employee owed a “reasonable duty” to perform the job; that the worker breached this duty; that the breach was willful (known by the employee, as documented by previous warnings); and, if allowed to continue, the employer would have been injured by the employee’s actions. Work rules, job descriptions,and documentation of the former employee’s specific deficiencies are vital to establishing misconduct.
Seek the advice of counsel before deciding to challenge a worker’s unemployment claim.
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Age discrimination is hard to prove—But retaliation isn't
- DOL's 2014 budget request tips off coming enforcement blitz
- Keep track of disciplinary timing in case employee alleges continuing violations
- Don't get even: The rules, risks of post-employment retaliation