The criteria to win an unemployment appeal are far different from what is needed to win a wrongful termination case. Generally, a person claiming unemployment benefits (a “claimant”) is eligible for benefits if he or she is: (1) out of work due to no fault of his or her own; AND (2) physically able to work; AND (3) actively seeking work; AND (4) ready to accept work. Details about eligibility for unemployment benefits can be found on the web site of the California Employment Development Department (EDD) here: http://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/FAQ_-_Eligibility.htm#Whataretheeligibilityrequirements That's a really low standard to meet. Because the standard is so low, there is even a California statute that prohibits introducing the results of an unemployment decision into a subsequent legal proceeding:
"Unemployment Insurance Code § 1960. Effect of finding, judgment, conclusion or order in separate or subsequent action or proceeding; Use as evidence
Any finding of fact or law, judgment, conclusion, or final order made by a hearing officer, administrative law judge, or any person with the authority to make findings of fact or law in any action or proceeding before the appeals board, shall not be conclusive or binding in any separate or subsequent action or proceeding, and shall not be used as evidence in any separate or subsequent action or proceeding, between an individual and his or her present or prior employer brought before an arbitrator, court, or judge of this state or the United States, regardless of whether the prior action was between the same or related parties or involved the same facts."
Wrongful termination is a whole different animal. When people talk about “wrongful termination,” they are really talking about wrongful termination in violation of public policy. For a termination to be “wrongful,” it must violate a public policy.
Public policy refers only to things that are specifically prohibited by a statute (law) enacted by the legislature, or prohibited by a regulation promulgated (established) by a government agency. An employer cannot change terms of employment or fire you if the reason for the change is against the law. For example, an employer cannot increase your workload because of your race, sex, national origin, religion, etc., because you blew the whistle on safety violations, because sat for jury duty, or for any other reason that the law protects.
One of the most widely-known areas of public policy includes statutes prohibiting discrimination against people in specific protected groups, which include sex, race, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, age (40 years and older), religion, marital status and pregnancy.
In this context, “discrimination” means to treat differently from others who are not in the same protected group, but are similarly situated. “Discrimination” does not mean an employer has to be fair, or has to make good decisions.
In California, a person complaining of discrimination must file a claim with an administrative agency before he or she can file a lawsuit. The person can file a claim with either the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing within on year of the discriminatory act, or with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 300 days of the discriminatory act.
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twitter.com/MikaSpencer *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***
Ms. Spencer has given great advice.
Do not waste your time with a claim of wrongful termination. Your employer had the right to terminate you even if for an incorrect reason.
Good luck to you.
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