Should I appeal a denied unemployment claim due to an unwritten company policy that I was fired for?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Should I appeal a denied unemployment claim due to an unwritten company policy that I was fired for?

I was fired for reading another employee’s email that was left open on a computer that I have access to. I did not use any info for professional gain, but did mention it to another co-worker, who then told on me. I was denied unemployment for violating a company rule (there is no handbook at all). The decision also stated that this violation could have resulted in serious damage to the company’s interest (even though i signed a NDA and non compete). It says I acted volitionally and breached his trust. I had never been written up and have had good reviews, do I have decent grounds for appeal?

Asked on July 25, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your grounds to appeal are weak. Even if there was no written policy of which you are aware, reading another person's email is generally understood to be improper and an invasion of privacy; similarly, it is generally understood to be wrong to then disclose the contents of that email to another. It is also, quite frankly, illegal in many circumstances--a violation of electronic privacy laws. What you did could have exposed the company to liability--a lawsuit--by the employee whose email you read. Since it is generally understood that what you did is wrong, could result in a lawsuit, and may be illegal, it would provide grounds for termination for cause, which renders you ineligible for unemployment benefits. Not everything needs to be spelled out in detail--for example, if you stole from a coworker or the company, you could clearly be fired for cause even if there was no handbook stating that stealing is against company policy. Similarly, since what you did is wrongful in and of itself, it could constitute grounds for termination for cause even without some policy against it.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption