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, employee handbooks 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.
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