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Are fired employees eligible for unemployment compensation?

In Southern California, as well as the rest of the nation, the local economy tends to be like a roller coaster: one moment you’re up, the next you’re down, and the next you’re up again. During the down times, it’s helpful to know there is help available. For laid-off workers, this often comes in the lifeline known as unemployment compensation. Unfortunately, unemployment compensation is sometimes at the center of employment disputes between workers and their employers.

Many different types of workers are eligible for unemployment compensation in California. In general, qualifying workers must have been employed for a certain period of time, physically able to resume work and available immediately for new work. In addition, they must either be a U.S. citizen or able to demonstrate that they can legally work in the United States.

One of the many misconceptions about unemployment benefits is that a person who is fired, rather than laid-off, is not eligible for benefits. In some circumstances this is not the case, and a fired person may claim benefits. If a person is fired for a reason that is deliberate or repeated, such as constant tardiness or absenteeism, that worker is unlikely to be eligible for benefits. However, if a worker is fired for financial reasons, or because of unintentional actions, that worker may be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Not surprisingly, terminations often involve disputes between employees and their employers. A workers’ compensation attorney can sort out these disputes and explain all of a worker’s key rights to a client in need of help. Unemployment compensation disputes can be confusing as well as frustrating; fortunately, laid-off or terminated workers do not need to go through the legal process alone.

Source: FindLaw, “Eligibility for Unemployment Compensation Benefits,” accessed Jan. 23, 2017

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