Unemployment benefits after wrongful termination suit....

by Heather
(California)

So, my mentor Chris. I have another scenario to pick your brain with. First, let me reiterate some of our history together although you may remember me with the help you provided me and then with my children's father.

I was terminated in may of 2010. I waited 5 months for an appeal hearing to fight for my unemployment benefits and I won (thanks to preparing based on your assistance). What was especially funny was that my ex-employer tried to appeal to the board in Sacramento and that too was a waste of their time, especially since I had a paper trail of evidence which proved that they lied under oath in the appeal hearing.

I was terminated for misconduct per what they wrote on my termination letter and they outlined the behaviors which they were accusing me of. (All of which, by the way, were fabricated). What I was really terminated for was being a whistle blower. My supervisor already had it in for me as I filed a complaint against her for unethical behaviors as did 4 of my co-workers. My supervisor thought that I was the ring leader of these complaints and was sure to retaliate. She was also angry with me for giving birth to two beautiful baby girls 16 months apart, therefore taking two maternity leaves. Being pregnant and maternity leave made it harder to fire me. So when I returned from my second maternity leave, the very first day that I was back to work my supervisor altered my time sheet. She took away time that I had worked. There was no reason to alter my time sheet as we punched in and out with our fingerprint so that punches were accurate. I believe that she did not think that I would catch her and she knew that if my reported and signed time sheet was different then what she altered my time to reflect that I would be terminated instantly for falsifying my time sheet. But I did catch her and told her I was going to report her to the labor Commissioner. One week later I was terminated with the bogus allegations....

This of course is the short version as there is so much to the story. However, I have hired legal counsel and they are representing me in a wrongful termination suit against this previous employer of mine. My attorney is currently awaiting a response from their demand letter and should my ex-employer not respond or agree to mediation they will be filing a civil complaint.

So my question with regard to Unemployment Benefits is this: Should I win a settlement at some point AND I am still receiving UI benefits, how does that affect my benefits? Will I have to pay back what I have received? Will they stop giving me benefits because I receive a settlement, despite the fact that this is back pay and money for punitive damages? And of course the key element of information- I am in California! What do you know about this?



Hi Heather:)



I certainly do remember you Heather .. you're one of a very small handful of people that either had the nerve or found where to like Unemployment Tips on Facebook .. I might understand unemployment, but I just don't dig the social media thingy. I'm thinking of hiring a coach for that :)

First, let me congratulate you on understanding how this employment stuff works and standing up for yourself. In doing so, I think you're standing up for all employees that may feel too intimidated to do so.

Your supervisor is just one person, nonetheless she was acting as the employer's agent when she did all that stuff .. and that is the kind of employee that truly causes harm to not only the employer's best interests, but all employees best interest as well.

My opinion is that it takes a very fair minded and impartial person to be an effective supervisor. Morale does trickle down from them.

I'm fairly certain any punitive award would not effect your unemployment benefits as it is basically compensation for the retaliation you had to endure .. which is against the law.

But, when I started writing back I wasn't so sure about any back pay award which, in my mind seems to be an award of wrongfully withheld wages. I'm sure it's a state specific issue.

So, I of course went to what I think is the best self help guide with regard to UI benefits .. in the country.

The guide for how California unemployment benefits work.


I found good reading material. The closest I could come to the info that matches what you've asked about is found at TPU 80.05 A #1 (standby or idle time & 2 (back pay award).

What I found there .. copied and pasted from the California unemployment website:

This subdivision deals with the question of the employment status of claimants arising when the employer pays "back pay" to them after their discharge. Back pay awards derive generally from the employee filing a claim with his union for reinstatement or filing with the National Labor Relations Board. Once these payments have been made, it is necessary to determine the period they cover. There usually is no problem if the payment represents full back pay. In such cases, the payment is allocated to the entire period the claimant was requesting. However, often the payment is in the form of a settlement which is less than the full back pay. In these cases it becomes necessary to determine the period of time covered by the settlement. This would be done by first determining the claimant's hourly or daily wage, and then dividing that amount into the amount of the settlement. Read the rest ..

My best guess .. yes any back pay award would result, in at least, a weekly reduction of any further benefits, but how they actually do work it could be personally reported on by you .. when everything is said and done.

Thanks Heather. It was another good unemployment question.

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Sep 07, 2011
Thank you....
by: Heather

I will read the rest of what you found. I suppose that since it can take time to come to a settlement and even years in some cases if the matter goes to trial that it is quite possible that I will not even be receiving benefits any longer once this matter is resolved. Per my calculations, my total available 99 weeks based on the current extensions takes me to part of April 2012 so it will all come down to when any money is received and how much. I just hope that I do not have to pay back any benefits. I will keep you posted as the matter progresses.... see you on Facebook. If there is anything I can do to help you with the Facebook page, let me know!




I'd would like to know how this works out .. and I am curious about that back pay issue.

As far as FB goes .. the main part of the problem is that FB itself changes things .. almost as soon as I think I have it figured out .. it also doesn't captivate me on a personal level.

I mean really, who wants to create a news feed of there every movement .. at least on a personal level, but I only created an account because if you have a business .;. you need to hop on that bandwagon.

However, I am doing research for a rant. I'm wondering whether more people are getting terminated from their jobs because of their facebook pages.

And I'm very curious to know if the changes in UI laws some states were specifically worded to make it okay to fire someone for "work related misconduct" because of what shows up on their fb pages .. whether intended for public consumption or not or if as innocent as being tagged in a photo by someone else.


I mean, the only reason I am known as Chris only (a pseudonym) is because when I wrote the first page for this site .. I still needed to work for an employer to make money.

Can you imagine how well I might have fared if a preliminary googling of my real name brought a potential employer straight to Unemployment-tips.com ... not to mention a thorough background check.




Sep 11, 2011
The Facebook thingy....
by: Heather

I will do some research as well and see what I can find and send it to you. It seems like firing someone over Facebook will come down to a case by case issue. The most important thing that each individual can do is to keep everything completely private and not friend people from their jobs. My personal opinion on this is that what people do on their own time when they are off the clock for their employer is none of their employers business as long as they are not doing anything illegal or representing the company in some fashion. And a good attorney would be able to successfully argue this in court. Now, if someone is using Facebook for personal pleasure while they are on the clock at work then this is probably a violation of a policy. Again, case by case is the best way to look at this. Perhaps you can finds "different Facebook firing scenarios" and you can rant about the do and don't of each particular situation and add your personal spin to each scenario. You would do an excellent job and lets face it- you tell it like it is, which is often what people need to hear! Talk to you soon!

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