If 2 employees are fired for theft, can one be allowed to collect unemployment but not the other?

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If 2 employees are fired for theft, can one be allowed to collect unemployment but not the other?

I was fired from my job because I ate some chips and forgot to pay for them until the next day. I was denied unemployment benefits but the funny thing is my co-worker was fired for the same thing and she was granted unemployment benefits. How can that be?

Asked on October 5, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Presumably, when your coworker applied for benefits, no one contested them by saying that she was fired for cause (e.g. theft), while also presumably, when you filed, the company said you'd been fired for cause.

Companies are not generally obligated to treat employees the same or fairly, including when it comes to termination or the employee's applications for unemployment. The fact she has received benefits and you have not may be unfair, but doesn't raise any legal issue, unless you can show either 1) that whatever the company said about you which caused you to be denied was untrue; or 2) that you were treated differently by them (discriminated against) on account of race, sex, religion, age over 40, or disability.


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