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Sterling Employment Law

When a firing can and cannot stop unemployment compensation in MI

Many employees in Michigan who have lost their jobs believe that they will be entitled to unemployment compensation. This is not always the case. There are some instances in which employers will have the right to deny unemployment compensation. There are others in which employers will be in violation of the law in trying to stop employees from collecting their unemployment compensation. For those who are facing employment-related disputes when it comes to this issue, it is imperative to understand the laws that are relevant to these circumstances.

A worker who is dismissed from his or her job because of misconduct linked to the job will not be allowed to collect unemployment compensation. But, there have to be certain criteria in place for the worker to have committed misconduct sufficient to a denial of unemployment benefits. The actions must have been harmful to the employer's interests, and they must have been done intentionally or in disregard of those interests. If there were acts considered to be grossly negligent, this too will be enough for the employer not to pay unemployment benefits.

There does not have to be repeated incidents of misconduct. It can be one time or several times. An accumulation of incidents is also sufficient to deny paying unemployment benefits. If there are a series of problems and the last one results in the dismissal, the employer must show that the employee was intentionally disregarding the employer's interests. A worker who is simply not able to perform the duties of the job, was negligent or has shown an isolated lack of judgment will not be disqualified from receiving benefits. If there are acts that the employee has committed away from the job, state law does not allow for the employer to deny unemployment benefits.

If a job has a production quota and the employee is not able to meet it, but is in all other ways cooperative, it is unlikely that an employer cannot disqualify the employee from receiving unemployment benefits.

Employees who have lost their job and believe that they have been wrongly denied unemployment compensation due to allegations of misconduct need to understand their rights. Speaking to an attorney experienced in a wide variety of issues related to employment law may be the first step to receiving unemployment benefits if the employer is trying not to pay them.

Source: Michigan.gov, "Discharge for Misconduct (Firing)," accessed on April 25, 2016

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