Thank you very much for explaining.
In general, an individual will be eligible to receive benefits provided that they have received enough wages during the base period to establish a claim (this is usually not an issue if you have been employed for more than a few weeks), they are physically able and available to immediately accept work, actively seeking work, and unemployed through no fault of their own.
At issue in your circumstance would be the final criteria--unemployed through no fault of your own. This is because individuals fired for what the law defines as "willful misconduct" will be regarded as unemployed "through fault," since they voluntarily engaged in acts they should have foreseen would result in termination.
The question is whether your "commission fraud" constitutes "willful misconduct." In general, falsifications concerning work records constitute misconduct if the following two conditions are met, in accordance with Title 22, Section 1256-34(e):
- The false statements are wilfully made.
- The false statements substantially injure or tend to injure the employer's interests or are a substantial violation of the employee's obligation to the employer.
So, you can argue that your termination under these circumstances does not constitute "misconduct" through one of two means--that you did not know that what you did was against store policy, or that it did not result in substantial injury to your employer.
If I am understanding correctly, it seems that your "commission fraud" (as your employer is calling it) did result in you being paid more commission that you actually earned, and so your employer can likely argue successfully that this resulted in "substantial injury." Thus, you only remaining argument would be that you didn't know this behavior was against store policy.
If you can argue that you weren't aware what you were doing was wrong, then termination under these circumstances may not constitute "willful misconduct," and thus may not result in your disqualification from benefits. Otherwise, I'm afraid to say that a willful falsification resulting in "substantial injury" to your employer generally will result in disqualification and you will be unable to collect benefits.
There is no penalty for applying for benefits and being rejected, provided you do not make any intentional misrepresentations on your UE application. So, you can and should apply for benefits, and if your employer contests your claim, present your case to the hearing officer who will determine whether you were terminated for "willful misconduct" and hope for a ruling in your favor.
At $2,000 a month in wages, you would likely stand to receive about $230 a week in UE benefits. See here for a table that calculates the exact amount: http://www.edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/de1101bt5.pdf
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