Have you been fired from your job? Were you laid off? Did you file for unemployment? Did your employer contest your right to receive benefits? Have you been denied benefits? Are you entitled to benefits?
Sometimes companies fire an employee, and then contest the employee’s right to receive unemployment benefits. Companies are entitled to contest a terminated employees access to unemployment benefits in certain instances, but in some cases companies abuse this process by contesting unemployment benefits in bad faith, effectively adding insult to economic injury.
Under California law, an employee is disqualified from receiving benefits if and only if he has either:
left his most recent work voluntarily without good cause; or
(b) has been fired for misconduct connected with his most recent work (Unemployment Insurance Code, §1256).
“Misconduct connected with recent work” is a substantial breach by the employee of an important duty or obligation owed to the employer, willful or wanton in character, and tending to injure the employer (Maywood Glass Co. v. Stewart(1959)).
Accordingly, mere inefficiency, unsatisfactory conduct, or poor performance as the result of inability or incapacity, isolated instances of ordinary negligence or inadvertence, or good faith errors in judgment or discretion do not constitute misconduct, and cannot legally serve as justifications for denial of benefits. For example, even a single instance of an offensive remark to an employer, attributable to hotheadedness rather than deliberation, is not misconduct (Silva v. Nelson (1973) 31 Cal.App.3d 136).
If you have been terminated by your employer and denied benefits, you should contact an attorney to discuss your rights. Denials are can be appealed but you must act quickly.
[CA Statute Reference: Unemployment Insurance Code, §1256]
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