Getting fired, nodding falling asleep, but under medication

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Getting fired, nodding falling asleep, but under medication

Last weeks after working my overnight shift, I was so tired and while sitting in the office I fell asleep, well nodding off and on. I got fired and even after I told my HR rep that I believe the medication had a baring on my falling a sleep, she brushed it off, and I was fired. I have been at my job 11 years. Can I still collect unemployment

Asked on April 13, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You may be fired "for cause" for fallling asleep at work, and you can be fired for cause even if medication you were taking caused or contributed to you falling asleep: that is because being on medication does not justify or excuse falling asleep, and it is your obligation as an employee to not take medication that causes you to fall asleep at work (or take other steps to not fall asleep at work, such as drink coffee, make sure you had enought sleep, etc.). If fired for cause, you are ineligible for unemployment.
The above is how this situation would most typically play out, but it is possible that the examiner at the unemployment division/department will feel differently: therefore, it is worthwhile for you to apply for unemployment and, if initially denied, to appeal the denial, because it is possible you might receive it--but you only might get it if you try.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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