The ability to collecting unemployment benefits after being terminated by an employer is centrally dependant on the reason or cause for which the former employee was separated from the employer. Employees who are discharged, who resign and who are out of work due to a union strike may be disqualified from collecting unemployment benefits.
Employees who have been “fired,” or terminated for good cause involving deliberate misconduct or a knowing violation of a reasonably enforced company rule or policy are not eligible to collect benefits. In some States define employee “misconduct” for the purpose of determining benefit eligibility as requiring (1) deliberate misconduct in willful disregard of the employer’s interest or (2) a knowing violation of a reasonable and uniformly enforced rule or policy as long as the violation is not due to the employer’s incompetence. This kind of behavior determination is routinely made by the unemployment office on a case by case basis.
Common Disqualifying Offenses
- Absence without good cause after a warning
- Absence without notice of employer
- Falsification of records
- Chronic tardiness after a warning
- Falsification of parts of job application
- Refusal of assigned work without good cause
- Deliberate lack of effort
- Neglect that causes substantial damage to employer’s property
- Sleeping on the job
- Conviction of a crime
- Possession of drugs
- Failure to return after leave of absence.
The employee’s state of mind is important in determining whether or not that employee will be denied unemployment benefits. The employer must establish that the employee conduct giving rise to the termination was intentional. Involuntary or accidental violations or acts of misconduct are not disqualifying and the employee may receive unemployment benefits after all. The unemployment office may consider factors affecting the employee such as fatigue, provocation, stress and irregular enforcement of company rules suggesting that the employee may not have deliberately intended to violate company policy by his actions.
Other Non-Disqualifying Offenses
The following offenses will generally not disqualify an individual who was fired by an employer:
- Bad judgment
- Inability to perform work
- Personality conflicts
- Unsatisfactory performance
- Policy differences
- Minor arguments
- Bad attitude
- Conduct involving domestic abuse
An employee who has been disqualified from receiving benefits for any of the above named reasons may become “requalified” by becoming employed again for a specified amount of weeks and by earning a specified amount and in addition, the separation for the new or subsequent job must be voluntary.
The important message to take away from this article is that just because you have been fired by an employer does not mean that you will be denied unemployment insurance benefits. It can be important to contact an employment attorney to discuss your situation and obtain important advice and direction on whether or not to file a claim for unemployment benefits and how to handle a former employer who may try to derail that employee from receiving such benefits.
Some employees may be legally acting to hold a former employer liable for a wrongful termination arising due to some kind of unfair or illegal act by that employer. Such employees may have been subjected to severe emotional distress, discrimination as to gender, age, sexual orientation, race and national origin and may have been defamed by a former employer. The employee must fight for his or her unemployment benefits and the assistance of an employment attorney could go a long way to making that task a little less stressful.