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RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12132
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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I have an employee who refuses to take a company cell phone.

Customer Question

I have an employee who refuses to take a company cell phone. He uses his own phone and claims he gets bad reception or isn't getting emails and we can reach him to dispatch work to him. We called him in to get a company phone and he refuses to take it stating that we can fire him but he wont take the phone. How can we be protected against an unemployment claim if we dismiss him?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 10 months ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. I look forward to assisting you.

As you likely know, New York is an "at will" employment state, meaning that absent an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement which may give an employee more rights, employees may be terminated at any time, for any reason, with or without cause, so long as it isn't due to an unlawful reason. That is, you cannot fire an employee because of their race, religion, age, sex, disability, or national origin, etc. So, you'd be well within your rights to fire the employee for failing to abide by company policy.

The best way to protect yourself is to document the employee's failure to comply with company policy as directed. So, after giving them a verbal warning (and documenting in their employee record that it was done) if they refuse again, give them a written warning, and again, document it. At that point, you can escalate it further - if they still refuse, you can give one final warning (3 strikes and you're out) or immediately terminate. The employee's outright refusal to comply with company policy is insubordination. While he may file for unemployment after being terminated, your defense would be his insubordination and refusal despite numerous requests to comply with company directives, and your proof is your written documentation. Insubordination is grounds for denial of unemployment compensation.

If you need additional information or clarification, please REPLY and I'll be happy to assist you further. Thank you.

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 10 months ago.

If there is nothing further I can assist you with, please kindly remember to leave me a positive rating (3-5 stars) as that is the only way experts are compensated on this site for their time and information, and a portion of you deposit is released to us. Thank you again for using Just Answer!

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 10 months ago.

If there is nothing further I can assist you with, please kindly remember to leave me a positive rating (3-5 stars) as that is the only way experts are compensated on this site for their time and information, and a portion of you deposit is released to us. Thank you again for using Just Answer!

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