I live in Indiana. Can he fire me and contest my unemployment?
I started receiving unemployment a month after I got terminated.
When I started I didn't sign an employee handbook there was not one.
The week before I was terminated my boss wanted his girls (employees) to take a picture in a entertainer magazine for promotions. I was fine with that until he wanted us to wear bikinis in the shoot and at work. I refused and did not go to the shoot because it was my day off and I'm not wearing a bikini.
The next weekend my boss stole my phone. He denied stealing it. He pulled me into his office to go over my text messages. He accused me of using drugs and that I needed to get help. I was hysterical crying trying to explain to him, but he said he didn't trust me and he took my key and walked me out. He didn't give me a drug test. We were in his office and I admitted I'm not a saint on my days off. Can he use the audio from his cameras at the hearing? because I was so upset I don't remember what I said.
First of all, you must have some recall of what you did in fact say that you are worried enough to ask the question.
This is by no means a general question about unemployment benefits.
Your story implies that your employer found out a possible truth about you with regard to what you do on your days off and fired you for it and that the event that caused the discharge was your refusal to wear a bikini for a photo shoot and at work.
Wearing a bikini for work where one wasn't initially required to wear one for work is a substantial change in the conditions of employment and I would say is a reason to quit that is with good cause.
And although he denied stealing your cell phone, .. your story implies he must have stolen it because he questioned you about the text messages stored on it. I guess clarification about who owns or pays for the cell phone would be in order.
Misconduct must be connected with the work.
So I suggest you speak to a lawyer because I don't know if you do drugs or not.
I also do not know the answer to the pivotal question.
Whether an audio recording from an
employer's video camera , which I assume you knew was there and active, would be admissible by the employer to prove you admitted to doing drugs if you were aware of this equipment or was the conversation conveyed as being private.
If it's not he couldn't use it to support any testimony he may give claiming he fired you for drug use by your own admission.
What I can tell you is what the Indiana unemployment statutes say about drugs being good cause for discharge.
Discharge for just cause" as used in this section is defined to include but not be limited to:
(1) separation initiated by an employer for falsification of an employment application to obtain employment through subterfuge;
(2) knowing violation of a reasonable and uniformly enforced rule of an employer, including a rule regarding attendance;
(3) if an employer does not have a rule regarding attendance, an individual's unsatisfactory attendance, if the individual cannot show good cause for absences or tardiness;
(4) damaging the employer's property through willful negligence;
(5) refusing to obey instructions;
(6) reporting to work under the influence of alcohol or drugs or consuming alcohol or drugs on employer's premises during working hours;
(7) conduct endangering safety of self or coworkers;
(8) incarceration in jail following conviction of a misdemeanor or felony by a court of competent jurisdiction; or
(9) any breach of duty in connection with work which is reasonably owed an employer by an employee.
(e) To verify that domestic or family violence has occurred, an individual who applies for benefits under subsection (c)(8) shall
You should also check what Indiana has to say about gross misconduct as well. Here the links to the unemployment statutes.
So unless that audio recording contains some information which is damaging to you and it is admissible as evidence, there should be no need to worry.
Personally, I think you should contact a lawyer because if this boss fired you because you refused to don a bikini and additionally start working wearing a bikini if you had never been required to do this before .. is sexual harassment in my mind.
And yes, he can fire you and contest your unemployment benefits.
Please understand that even without an audio recording, conflicting testimony is weighed by the ALJ hearing the matter.
Credibility and judging the preponderance of the evidence and testimony is the ALJ's job at an unemployment hearing.