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Can someone collect unemployment insurance if employer fired you claiming employee was stealing?

San Bernardino, CA |

employer charged me and another employee of theft with a credit card. We were both asked to sign an a notarized document accepting that all items taken were going to be paid back and that deductions will be made from paychecks until the the total amount was paid off. Both employees agreed and signed the document requested, but the next day I was given a final check, vacation and sick time paid, but they were all zeroed out claiming the money was used towards the amount owed. I got fired, not the other employee, his debt was forgiven. Criminal charges were filed against only me. My Public Defender told me to file a Labor and a civil claim regarding the way the last paycheck was handled and because they reduced the vacation time paid. Should I even try to file for unemployment benefits?

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Attorney answers 3


It is possible but not very likely that the employee will be able to collect unemployment benefits in such situation. The employer will vigorously challenge the employee's claim. The issue will be whether the employee became unemployed through no fault of his/her own.

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If you are terminated for gross misconduct, such as theft, you will not be found eligible for UI benefits. Based on the facts you present here, I believe that you would have a difficult time establishing your claim and the employer will definitely contest your right to benefits. Before filing a claim, you should consult with your criminal attorney to ascertain that there would be no prejudicial effect on your criminal charges if you file and are found ineligible.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.


I am in general agreement with the previous answers. However, there is usually a provision in the unemployment code that consistency of enforcement of a rule is a factor as to whether someone is entitled to unemployment. The fact that you were fired, and the other employee was not, may factor into the decision of the hearing officer regarding the discipline involved. You should consult with an experienced employment attorney in your area to determine whether you should file for benefits.

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