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What To Do If You Lost Your Job in California?

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

What Do You Need To Know About Wrongful Termination And Unemployment In California?


Losing your work is a life-changing event. Your life is about to change dramatically, whether it was lost due to wrongdoing or a loss of business within the company resulting in them lowering their jobs. You could be stressed and sad if you have lost your work for some cause. These are normal reactions, and many people may feel as if they have lost their identity due to losing their work.


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A difficult job market compounds the loss of a job, and trying to adapt your expertise to what is available will add to the difficulty of the situation. It's time to think about how you'll keep getting money to support yourself and others who rely on you. The logical next move is to start applying for unemployment compensation.


How Do I Know If I'm Eligible For Unemployment Benefits?


You must have missed wages or work due to no fault of your own to be eligible for unemployment benefits in California. You may be eligible for compensation if you've been laid off from your job due to a lack of employment. You may also be eligible if you've been fired or left your job. The following are some of the most common reasons people apply for unemployment benefits:

  • Being fired from a job because you lack the skills to perform the requisite duties or simply because you didn't fit into the role, even though the employer believed you would still qualify for benefits. You would be disqualified for compensation if you were dismissed for misconduct.

  • And if you were laid off due to RIF (reduction-in-force) or the company was forced to downsize due to economic reasons, you are still eligible for benefits.

  • If you leave your employment, you must have a compelling reason for doing so. A good reason is that a rational person who wanted to work would have provided the same situation.

  • If you've been temporarily unemployed or if your work hours have been cut to a very low level, you might be eligible for unemployment insurance payments (UI). There are basic requirements that you must meet and prove. You must be looking for work during the period you are receiving benefits.

  • You can seek legal advice if you've applied for compensation and been turned down. You'll need the help of an experienced California Unemployment Lawyer to get more facts and guide you through the process so you can get the benefits you deserve.


How to Apply for California Unemployment Compensation?

  1. The California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) oversees the state's unemployment insurance program. You may apply for these benefits over the internet, but be prepared to wait a long time. Some customers claim to have been on hold for hours before speaking with an operator.

  2. On EDD's website, online applications are accessible and provide a much faster operation. You can use a computer at a nearby library or community center if you don't have one. Gather all the details you'll need to fill out the forms before starting the application process. This is EDD's checklist to make sure you have all of the necessary documents:

  3. Your previous employer's records, including the business name, address (both physical and mailing if applicable), phone number, and name of your previous supervisor.

  4. What was the last time you worked, and why are you no longer employed?

  5. Your total earnings for the previous week. The week begins on Sunday and ends on your last day of work.

  6. A list of all the companies for which you've served in the last eighteen months.

  7. Company names, emails, and phone numbers should all be included on the registry. The list should also include the dates you worked for each company, the total amount of money you got, the number of hours you worked for each company, and how much you were paid per hour. Including the reason you are no longer employed by any of the companies on the list.

  8. Unemployment Insurance Notice to Federal Employees (Standard Form 8)

  9. If you're an ex-military member, you'll need a copy of your DD 214.

You'll need information from your work authorization document to determine your citizenship status, or if you're not a resident, you'll need information from your passport.

Before you begin the application process, ensure this information is on hand. EDD may contact you for a phone interview after completing the application and submitting it to them. You would not be intimidated by a phone call since it is common practice. When they call, you should be prepared to justify how you lost your job or why you are no longer employed.


You should also be able to demonstrate that you are actively looking for jobs. Keep track of the positions you've applied for, including the dates and companies' names.


What Options Do I Have If My Unemployment Benefits Are Denied?


You have the right to appeal a rejection of unemployment compensation in California. If your appeal is successful, you will be awarded the benefits you are entitled to and retroactive sums back to the date your original claim would have begun. If you have been refused unemployment insurance in California, contact an Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles who is familiar with the state's unemployment laws to ensure you get the benefits you deserve.


Possible Reasons For Denied Unemployment Benefits


If your unemployment benefits are rejected, you will receive a Notice of Determination from the California Employment Development Department (EDD). You will be informed that your application for benefits is denied and details on how to appeal the decision.


Your earnings were insufficient to satisfy the minimum criteria. To be eligible for benefits in California, you must have earned a certain amount of money in the previous twelve months, referred to as the 'foundation era.'


You would not be able to claim unemployment insurance if you quit your job. You must have been laid off due to no fault of your own, and voluntary resignation is not a valid excuse to be considered for unemployment benefits. Before you are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits in California, you must have fair justification or valid personal or work reasons that would cause someone who actually wished to keep their job to resign before you are eligible for benefits under this policy.

  • If you are dismissed from a job because of your own wrongdoing, you will be ineligible for unemployment insurance under California law. According to a strict description, misconduct is described as a violation of a material obligation owed to your employer. You would have had to act in a way that demonstrated a deliberate or careless disregard for your responsibilities. These activities would have damaged the employer's interests on purpose. Misconduct is usually not regarded or qualified as making a mistake, being reckless, or having a bad performance record.

  • You will lose unemployment insurance if you refuse to look for new work. You must search for new and suitable jobs when obtaining funds from this scheme. If appropriate job offers are made to you, you are also required to accept them.

  • If you have been denied unemployment benefits and believe the decision was not made fairly, contact a California Employment Lawyer who is familiar with California law governing this program. You are entitled to benefits for being out of work and the financial assistance you need to survive when you search for new work. As you focus on finding a suitable career, an Employment Attorney will direct you through the process and do the legal work.


Working Availability


To keep getting unemployment benefits, you must be able to work, look for work, and be willing to consider a new job when one is offered to you. You must be able to demonstrate and certify that you have been actively looking for jobs. Keep track of all employers you've asked for job openings and the dates you spoke with them. Make a note of what happened when you confronted these companies.


California Unemployment benefits are intended to provide a temporary safety net when you look for work. It's designed to keep you afloat financially as you pound the pavement in search of a suitable replacement job. You must be a 'workable' candidate.

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What Does 'Able to Work' Really Mean?


To be considered 'able to function,' you must be psychologically and physically capable of doing so. You are not eligible for unemployment insurance if you are disabled by an accident or disease that prevents you from accepting or doing jobs. This is an exception if you are impaired and can still do a job with adequate accommodations.


The 'ability to function law differs by state. States take different approaches, with some allowing employees who cannot work due to sickness or injury to receive unemployment insurance as long as they do not refuse work during that time.


Is it necessary for me to be fully jobless to receive unemployment benefits?


Some people believe that they must be fully jobless to qualify for unemployment insurance. You could also be eligible for unemployment benefits in California if you are still working part-time, depending on your circumstances and earnings. In California, many services can provide you with partial unemployment insurance. This benefit would reimburse you for a percentage of what you would have received if you were unemployed entirely.


During any week in California, a person is considered 'unemployed' if their daily income, minus 25%, or $25, is less than what they can receive as a weekly unemployment benefit. In deciding this status, they use the lower of the two amounts: $25 or 25%. You will get a check for the difference if you apply in this case and satisfy all other unemployment insurance criteria.


How Do I Know If I Was Wrongfully Terminated in California?


In the state of California, employees are normally hired 'at will.' This word refers to your employer's right to fire you at any time for any cause. If you are laid off due to a lack of employment, the process is legal; however, the employer must follow strict guidelines to provide you with notice.


If your employer breaks a particular law or regulation, it is illegal to fire an employee, even an 'at will' worker, in California. This clause states that you cannot be fired because of your sexual orientation, gender, age, race, or any other form of discrimination. If you believe your employer has broken the law, contact the top California Employment Lawyer, who will ensure you are paid for being fired illegally.


How To Appeal If You've Been Denied Unemployment Benefits?


If you have been refused unemployment benefits, you have twenty days to file an appeal with the California Workforce Development Department. Consult an Employment Attorney in Los Angeles for guidance to ensure you take all the appropriate measures to ensure a proper outcome in your case. The only way to file an appeal is to mail it to the address listed on your decision notice.


Your reasons why you believe you should receive the benefits should be used as part of your appeal. If you were fired and the determination states that you are not entitled to compensation, this is an example of this expression. When you provide evidence that your termination was due to a medical condition that led to a doctor recommending you to stop doing that form of work or face adverse health consequences, you will demonstrate that it was not a reasonable dismissal. If your employer refuses to accommodate your request for fair accommodations or a work transfer, you will be entitled to appeal the decision.


You will have an easier time negotiating with the court of appeals on this matter if you have the assistance of an experienced legal representative. A California Employment Lawyer familiar with California employment laws will assist you in gathering the necessary documentation for a successful appeal. You can ask your Unemployment Lawyer In Los Angeles for any confusion on the matter.

  • When you are challenging the rejection of your insurance, you must continue to file weekly unemployment claims, look for work, and keep track of all your job searches and contacts. If you win your appeal, the benefits you should have received will be retroactive to your filing date, and you will receive the full benefits to which you are entitled.

  • When the EDD receives your appeal, they will investigate your case and see whether you are eligible for benefits. Having the best employment lawyer by your side would ensure that you give the correct paperwork to the EDD so that they can accurately assess your case. If the EDD office determines that you are not eligible for unemployment benefits, your file will be forwarded to the Office of Appeals.

You will be scheduled to appear before an Administrative Law Judge by the Office of Appeals. You'll be told when the hearing is scheduled, as well as where it will take place, whether you'll be required to testify in person or over the internet, and how to provide the necessary evidence and witness testimony.

  • During the hearing, the judge will ask you questions, review your documents, and make a decision on your appeal. It is recommended that you attend the hearing with an Unemployment Attorney in Los Angeles because company lawyers will represent your employer, and it is in your best interests to have representation as well. Having an employment lawyer assist you in the appeal process will give you a better chance of a favorable outcome at your hearing. Attorneys will cross-examine witnesses, assist you in sorting through facts that would be most useful in your case, and make legal reasons about why you should be given unemployment benefits.

  • You should be prepared to show the judge all the documentation supporting your claim for unemployment compensation at the trial. If you've been dismissed, you'll want to be able to demonstrate that it wasn't because of misconduct. You should also have any witnesses who can back up your story available and willing to testify.

  • You should be on time for your trial, with all supporting documentation and your Unemployment Lawyers In Los Angeles accompanying you. Your lawyer will advise you on how to respond to the ALJ's questions so that you can effectively defend yourself. You or your solicitor will question your employer's witnesses, and your employer will be able to challenge you and your witnesses. You or your client can make closing statements after all of the evidence has been presented.

The ALJ will issue a written opinion in your case after the hearing. You won't have to do anything else if you win the case. You will have twenty days to file an appeal with the Appeals Board if you are still denied benefits. There will be an address for you to file with the Appeal Board on the ALJ's rejection letter. If the Appeal Board does not satisfy you, you still have one more move to take.


The following are some of the reference materials used by ALJs when deciding whether or not to offer unemployment benefits:

  • Benefit Decisions with a History

  • Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations

  • Code of Unemployment Insurance

  • Guides to Determining The Benefits

These documents are available for viewing on the DE 1000m Appeal Form from the Employment Development Department. These materials may also be available for you to check with your California Employment Attorney.


If your benefits are still rejected after speaking with the Appeal Board, you have six months to file a Writ of Mandate with the California Superior Court. You may seek legal counsel or follow the Appeal Board's rejection letter guidelines about how to appeal their decision. Consider one of our prescreened California Lawyers in your California Attorney Search.


What is Wrongful Termination?


A wrongful termination is a form of retaliation that employers may use against their workers. Both federal and state wage and hour laws make this a criminal offense. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) section 15(a)(3) expressly forbids an employer from firing an employee who has lodged a complaint. This complaint may be submitted in writing or orally and is generally directed to the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) (the DOL).


California Labor Code Section 98.6 LC is the state statute that forbids this. An employee who files a complaint about a labor law violation (most commonly unpaid wages) is covered, similar to Section 15(a)(3) of the FLSA. Since it protects whistleblowers under California wage and hour rules, Section 98.6 LC is also known as the "whistleblower act."


If an employee has been wrongfully dismissed, they have the right to file a civil lawsuit against their employer. This can be achieved at the federal level, through the FLSA, or at the state level, through the Labor Code. Furthermore, if the employee was fired in retaliation for filing a complaint about unpaid salaries, the firing itself is grounds for a labor lawsuit. This is in addition to the case of unpaid salaries. Even if the judge ultimately dismisses the employee's claims for unpaid wages, the fact that they were unfairly terminated is an actionable offense that may result in financial compensation being owed to them.


What Does It Mean To Be An "Employee" In California?


Only an "employee" can file a lawsuit and/or seek wrongful termination under California labor law. This is because wrongful firing is a civil breach of the employment contract.


The term "employee" in California Labor Law is defined as when a worker works under an employer's guidance, supervision, and/or control. This is thought to be distinct from what is referred to as "independent contractors." These independent contractors offer a product or service to an organization or employer, but they do so with great flexibility in their work.


In other words, an independent contractor works for a corporation but is in charge of how the goods and/or services are delivered. They are not under the company's direct control. The greater the employer's level of control, the more likely the individual in question is an "employee" rather than an "independent contractor."


It is theoretically possible for an independent contractor to bring a lawsuit against a company if they breached the implied or explicit terms of their employment agreement, but this would not be unfair termination in the true sense of the word. Wrongful termination happens only when the person who has been wrongfully terminated is a lawfully recognized employee of the company.


When Is It Permissible For My Employer To Fire Me??


Even though California is an at-will jobs territory, there are several restrictions on whether an employee can be fired legally. When an employer has "discriminatory intent" in firing an employee, it is one of the most common legal grounds for an unfair termination claim and/or complaint. This implies that the firing was for some illegitimate cause.


It is illegal to fire an employee in retaliation for alleging unpaid salaries, reporting another wage and hour violation, or filing a complaint to recover back pay under California Labor Code Section 98.6. Any employee who engages in any of these behaviors is referred to as a "whistleblower" and is covered by California law. Other forms of retaliation are also prohibited by this labor law, such as the employee's demotion, the reduction of their scheduled work hours, and/or the act of moving them to a lower agency. Any of these acts would be considered retaliation, and a retaliation lawsuit may be filed.


Furthermore, employers in the state of California are not entitled to fire an employee for any of the following reasons, according to both federal and state wage and hour laws:

These different factors are not regarded as lawful, civil, or valid grounds for dismissal. The most prominent anti-discrimination labor legislation, "The Fair Employment and Housing Act" (FEHA) outlines them in great detail. This California state law applies to businesses with five (5) or more workers.

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The FEHA was enacted to shield workers of vulnerable groups from unfair firing and/or abuse. It means that an employer, by law, cannot retaliate against an employee for any of these reasons. Therefore, the employer in question is not permitted by law to create a "hostile work atmosphere" by bullying employees for any of these purposes. It means that under California Labor Laws, employers must have a working atmosphere that provides minimum safety and security for their workers.


What Is Constructive Discharge, And How Does It Work?


You can even file a lawsuit without having your job terminated. An employer can create such deplorable working conditions that an employee has no choice but to resign. If this occurs, you can argue for constructive dismissal or discharge. If you believe any rational person will leave in similar circumstances, speak with a Los Angeles Unemployment Lawyer and see if you have a case. Furthermore, under California law, wrongful termination and constructive discharge awards are the same.


Valid Reasons For Employment Termination


If you were fired for one of the reasons mentioned above, you might have a legal case against your employer. However, it's important to remember that not all terminations are illegal. A variety of arguments can be used to justify termination, including:

  • Inadequate productivity, reliability, or work quality

  • Insubordination or disobedience to corporate policies

  • Attendance problems (tardiness, not showing up to work)

  • Criminal behavior

  • Harassment may take the form of bullying, coercion, or threats

  • Layoffs


Collect Proof of the Unlawful Act


An employer that fires an employee for an illegal reason is unlikely to admit it. Some businesses use probationary periods for new employees to avoid future liability. Employees claiming they were fired illegally must show that the employer's reason for firing them was illegal and a "substantial driving factor" in their dismissal. Comments made by the concerned supervisor or manager that suggest a bias may be used as evidence. Here are some ideas for collecting information:

  • Maintaining a record of written evidence, such as emails, text messages, and Slack messages.

  • Getting hold of essential documents like pay stubs, performance reports, or summary notes.

  • Obtaining the names and contact information of any potential witnesses who may have seen illegal activity

When an employee can show that their boss treated them differently than another employee who did the same thing, they can prove misconduct. Here's an example of a case to prove discrimination: An employer fired an African American employee for violating a workplace rule, but non-African American employees who violated the same law in similar situations are not fired. This may support the employee's claim that the termination was based on race.


Terminated employees should meet with an experienced Los Angeles Employment Lawyer to see if they have enough evidence to file a wrongful termination lawsuit.


What Is The Wrongful Termination Statute Of Limitations In California?


A statute of limitations is the amount of time a person has after an incident to file a lawsuit. After this time span has expired, you are typically unable to file a complaint. If you believe you were wrongfully dismissed, you should meet with an experienced Wrongful Termination Attorney in Los Angeles as soon as possible because the statute of limitations varies depending on the type of case you bring.


What Are the Potential Damages for Wrongful Termination in California?


An employee who has been wrongfully terminated can claim damages for:

  • Wages lost in the past and in the future

  • Any other benefits

  • Anxiety, emotional distress, or depression

  • If an employer is found guilty of fraud or malice, punitive damages can be awarded

  • Fees and expenses incurred by the attorney


California Wages and Termination


Employers are required by state statute to pay all unpaid salaries to workers at the time of termination based on Section 201 of the California Labor Code. This covers the employee's salary up to the termination date and any accrued and unused holiday or compensated time off (PTO). Employers must also pay all collected commissions determined at the time of termination for commission workers, according to California Labor Code 227.3. Unpaid sick leave is exempt from this rule.


California Labor Code Section 203 states that waiting time penalties can be imposed if an employer willfully fails to pay a terminated employee all salaries, including accrued leave and earned commissions. Waiting time penalties are calculated by multiplying the employee's regular pay rate by the number of days the employee went without pay, up to 30 days.


Find The Best Unemployment Lawyer in Los Angeles, CA


California's regulations governing unemployment can be intricate. Consequently, many employees have trouble collecting California unemployment benefits or California unemployment insurance.


1000Attorneys.com is a California Bar Association-Certified Lawyer Referral Service that can refer you to a prescreened Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney best fit to handle your claims. Contact us on our 24/7 lawyer referral hotline at 1-661-310-7999 or complete our inquiry submission form for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.


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