Employees terminated for dishonesty aren’t entitled to unemployment. And being dishonest can involve breaking company rules to gain an advantage even if there’s no direct theft involved. Just be sure that before you terminate the worker for breaking the rule, you document the incident and can explain why you believe she acted dishonestly.
Recent case: Tiffany worked at a cellphone store with a fairly generous return policy that allowed goods purchased within a year that were defective to be exchanged for a new product. The policy required a manager’s approval and a receipt or electronic purchase record.
Tiffany claimed that the policy was actually very flexible and that customers didn’t always have to hand over the product to get a replacement. She picked out a headphone set, ostensibly using the return policy, but didn’t present a receipt or the actual defective headphones. Nor did she get a manager’s approval. When confronted, she claimed she had in fact turned in the old headphones when she had not. The company fired her.
She applied for unemployment compensation benefits, but was turned down when her former employer said she had been fired for dishonesty.
She appealed, but the Court of Appeals of Minnesota upheld the benefit denial, concluding that there was ample evidence she had abused the return policy and then acted dishonestly when confronted. (Montgomery v. AT&T Mobility, No. A15-0173, Court of Appeals of Minnesota, 2015)