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Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
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I was an "at will" employee of the State of CA and was terminated

Customer Question

I was an "at will" employee of the State of CA and was terminated for misconduct. When called into the "meeting," there were 2 non-HR employees. “John” said, "I am going to ask you some questions and “Jane” will be taking notes to record our conversation.” The entire inquiry consisted of 5 questions and lasted less than 10 minutes. I was never provided with information as to what my rights were as it related to a misconduct inquiry. “John” dove right into the questions and then said, “At this time, you can go back to work. We will review the situation and be in touch before the end of the day.” Thirty minutes later, I left the building for a 30 min. lunch and upon my return my badge had been de-activated. The receptionist let me into the office and I went directly to my supervisor to let her know. About an hour and half later I was called in and told I was terminated. Outside of my responses to the five questions, no other information was provided or requested by employer. Is this standard procedure in a misconduct situation?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Tina replied 2 years ago.

Hello and welcome,

There is no standard procedure in a situation where an employee is accused of misconduct.

What were you accused of? What would you like to achieve in this situation?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I was accused of possesion of an illegal substance, to which I responded honestly when asked the "5 questions." I want/need to apply for unemployment, but due to the "misconduct" status, according to what I read in EDD's "DE 2320 Rev58 (2-12) (Internet)" pamphlet sent from my previous employer, I will not be eligible. Ideally, I want the misconduct label removed as reason for termination.

Expert:  Tina replied 2 years ago.
I see. Thank you for the additional information.

Had you used an illegal substance, which violated the employer's policies?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No, it was in my purse and fell out. The receptionist found it and told two other employees. I sat right by the main doors, so these 2 other employees asked me, "what do you know about drugs, come check this out" I went out to reception area where they proceeded to pull the contents out of the little pouch to show me. I said I didn't know and basically returned to my desk. The receptionist showed it to other folks as well and ultimately was told to give it to the Director of our division. The cameras in the lobby showed it fell out of my purse, thus leading to termination. After I was "interviewed," I wrote down the questions and my ansers from the meeting... would you like me to provide this?

Expert:  Tina replied 2 years ago.
Hello again. No that will not be necessary.

This conduct normally would prevent you from receiving unemployment benefits unfortunately. I will opt out in favor of other attorneys who may have some suggestions for you, but I do not believe you will be successful in obaining benefits under these circumstances.

I'm sorry.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

that's what I figured, but just wanted verification. Thank you so much for your time, greatly appreciated!

Expert:  Tina replied 2 years ago.
You are welcome. Take care.

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