If I was terminated from my job because I wanted to write about my experiences working in a female correctional facility, can I collect unemployment?

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If I was terminated from my job because I wanted to write about my experiences working in a female correctional facility, can I collect unemployment?

I spoke with a few inmates who had a compelling stories and I asked could I reference their stories in the book. They agreed and I told them to write details that was important. I have not collected anything from them nor have we talked about the book since the first encounter. This was 6 months ago. Today I was terminated saying that I breached client confidentiality and displayed misconduct.

Asked on June 22, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Your former employer will attempt to deny your unemployment compensation claim by claiming misconduct.  You will need to argue that your action did not constitute misconduct or the type of misconduct that warrants denial of unemployment compensation benefits especially since you have not collected any information from the inmates. 

If unemployment compensation is denied, there is an appeals process which may result in an adverse ruling being overturned.

Your state's unemployment compensation agency can provide you with the procedures for filing your claim and appeals.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If there were any rules prohibiting what you did, especially anything written in a training manual, employee handbook, or the like, and you violated those rules, then would have been fired for cause and would not be eligible for unemployment. Employees who violate employer rules and policies may be fired for cause; and if you are fired for cause, you do not receive unemployment compensation.

If there were no written or explicit rules, but what you did goes against general work expections, then it *may* be that you were properly fired for unemployment--but an argument can also be made that you should not have been fired for cause since there was no nothing definite, just vague expectations, so you did not in fact violate company rules or policies. If you do not receive unemployment, then it would be worthwhile appealing that decision to the unemployment board.


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