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Can I collect unemployment if I have been fired for timeclock theft?

(San Francisco, CA)

I worked at this place for 1.5 years.

In this particular part of the City, it's busy and there is a 2-hour parking limit all around the streets close to the building where I used to work. I normally work morning shifts as a baker and I have no problem finding parking and moving my car when I get my breaks.

However, I was scheduled for a weird late-night shift to do inventory. Parking was a nightmare, and I was running out of time on my 10 minute break so I opted for something I wasn't so sure about... I was blocking somebody's driveway by a few inches.

An hour later I looked out at the street from my store and saw my car being towed across the street! Panicked, I ran out to try to do something, and tried to reason with the DPT officer, but it was no use - my car was blocking a driveway.

I knew that the particular shift manager on duty was NOT going to let me take care of this matter right away. She would have told me to take care of it on my own time - but my shift was not over until 10PM! The place where they impound cars in my city is in a dangerous neighborhood, especially at that time of night. Also, my next scheduled shift was at 5am the following morning. My car was the priority in my mind at that moment.

So, without telling a manager, and without clocking out - off I went to retrieve my vehicle. I eventually did call a team leader from my department while I was at the car impound lot and explained what had happened. The next day I was put on suspension until further notice, then called in a few days later and was terminated for time-clock theft and job abandonment.

In my opinion,
I didn't get paid enough at that job for the expense of getting my car towed, plus the emotional stress it caused me and my family to help pay for it. Therefore, I did not care to go back inside and notify a shifty I didn't trust.


I'm just going to tell you what your big stumbling block is here.

You failed to notify the manager of what happened and why it was important to take care of the matter immediately and you instead to disappear from work without clocking out. Not that clocking out would make much difference. Leaving work without at least notifying the employer is also rule violation that could cause a termination.

If you had let the manager know and she said no .. you'd at least have arguments about why the employer reacted in an unreasonable way. As it is, you didn't clock out and left work without informing anyone .. to take care of personal business.

The details are always looked at and if you had handled the situation properly and was subsequently terminated the state would be examining whether the employer was wrong or not to deny you leave to take care of this. All kinds of things could then be looked at like the necessity to move your car every two hours, the danger of where you had to go to pick up the car, the fact that you had to be at work at 5 AM.

I suppose you could try the approach that you panicked and did what you did spontaneously and that you simply made a mistake or did not think through your decision to it's logical conlusion.

I don't tell people not to try for unemployment because surprising decisions are made quite often, but I do try to help them understand what is standing in the way.

Your situation is iffy .. at best.

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