How do I prove self defense against a co-worker in order to win unemployment benefits?

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How do I prove self defense against a co-worker in order to win unemployment benefits?

I had had problems with a co-worker. This co-worker was a trouble maker. We both had received disciplinary actions from a year earlier. This co-worker followed me to my work area and pushed me. I defended myself. I was fired; she wasn’t. I filed criminal charges against her. Now I’m being denied unemployment benefits because of misconduct. What do I need to

do to prove self defense. What do I do to win my unemployment benefits?

Asked on August 13, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You may not be able to get unemployment benefits: you fought with a co-worker. Engaging in fighting by what is often termed "mutual consent"--i.e. when you were both "spoiling" for a fight, or inciting each other; or when you were pushed, but then retaliated by punching or escalating the conflict--is often just as bad as being the aggressor. You also write that you had previously received disciplinary actions, which means that you, too, were a "trouble maker" from your employer's point of view. While you can and should appeal the denial and tell your side of the story, be aware that under the circumstances you describe, you could be considered to have been fired "for cause," which is grounds to deny you unemployment.


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