Monday, October 4, 2010

Employee Theft and Unemployment Benefits

An employer may terminate an employee for stealing, and the employee cannot collect unemployment benefits. Accordingly, the employer does not suffer any adverse impact on its unemployment tax rate. However, a recently passed law now allows employees who steal less than $500 from a previous employer to collect benefits, if they are laid off from their next job, and credits the employee for the time they worked at their previous job even though they were fired for stealing. According to a very helpful article in the New Hampshire Business Review for the week of August 27, 2010, the new law clarifies the term “gross misconduct” by removing the word “dishonesty” and replacing it with “theft of an amount greater than $500.” The NHBR article, written by Bob Sanders, provides a complete analysis of the change, and some interesting statistics on gross misconduct in the workplace.

-Submitted By Christopher Pyles, Employment Attorney

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