Can I collect unemployment if I have been fired for breaking a rule I was aware of?
I was fired ("failure to follow procedures") because I used our instant messaging system for non-work related purposes (ie. talking to my co-workers). My termination paper states that there were 3 instances that notices were sent regarding the proper use of email & IMs. One of them was when I forwarded it to my staff when I was a supervisor. I know I broke a company rule, but in reading the definition of "gross misconduct," it seems that I should still qualify because the company did not "suffer significant injury or harm." No one was hurt by this. I've worked for this company for almost 6 years and was a HUGE asset to my office and the company. Also, so many, if not all, of the employees use this IM system...and it's not always work-related. I just had to be the lucky one to get fired...and this was because my previous manager told on me and had an investigation started. I even heard that the company made a decision to not terminate a Trainer, even though their IMs had sexual content. I feel like I was wrongfully terminated, so how can I convince the unemployment agent that I deserve this?
What state are you in .. California?
An employer's rule needs to be reasonable and it should be uniformly enforced otherwise the employer's consistency in enforcement is called into question and raises the specter of unfairness.
If they did not fire someone for the same rule violation .. that might be a good focus.
Employer's also need to follow their progressive discipline policy. Had you been previously warned for other rule violations?
This type of rule violation does not seem to be the type that would call for immediate termination.
What you need to do is make yourself aware of the policy and the options the employer may use for this and then build your case for "no misconduct" based on the weaknesses you detect for the employer's case. This is precisely how an employer is prepped for hearing only in reverse.
A well presented case with a strategy .. is what all unemployed people need to prepare for.