I'm sorry to hear of your dilemma.
Obviously, you will need to appeal the ruling and show that you were not terminated for theft.
Under CA law, if you receive a Notice of Overpayment and wish to appeal the finding, there are specific rules that you MUST follow to preserve your rights.
To request an appeal in this instance, you must send an appeal letter to the EDD within 20 days of the mailing date of the Notice of Overpayment. The mailing date can be found in the upper right hand corner of the first page of the Notice you received.
The place to mail your Appeal also appears on the Notice.
Your appeal letter needs to contain your current contact information, your Social Security Number, and a statement indicating you disagree with the EDD’s Notice of Overpayment. You don;t have to provide any evidence of your reasons for disagreeing at this point. You will have an opportunity to thoroughly prepare and present your arguments during an appeal hearing.
You will be notified of the upcoming appeal hearing and you will want to bring in all evidence you have as well as witnesses to show that the employer is lying. You have a right to present testimony, and any evidence you have to rebut the reason why you are being denied. If your former employer has documentary evidence that will assist you in your appeal you can ask the UI Hearing Office to issue a subpoena to your company on your behalf for the specific documents that you need to present your case.
Finally, based on the amount of money at issue, you might consider having a local unemployment law attorney assist you in the defense of this allegation.
I wish you the best in 2012.
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