Under California Unemployment Insurance Code, “misconduct” associated with employment termination is defined as substantial, willful violation of a known employer rule or policy. This definition of misconduct is generally favorable to employees-claimant as it requires the violation to be serious and intentional or at least grossly negligent. The employer has a burden to prove misconduct in order to have the employee disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. Ordinary mistakes, negligence, substandard performance, and lacking in qualifications are not considered misconduct and are therefore not grounds for denying unemployment benefits.
There are a two important things worth noting about misconduct:
- The employer might argue but the employer does not determine whether the reasons for your termination qualify as misconduct. They can only provide the facts about the reasons for your termination. EDD or CUIAB make their own independent determination of whether misconduct took place.