If your employer fires you because you won�t get the COVID vaccine, don�t expect to collect unemployment

Employers are telling their employees that they must be vaccinated against COVID-19 if they want to work in person. CNN announced Thursday that it fired three employees who were not vaccinated for violating its in-person vaccine requirements. According to an internal memo signed and received by The New York Times by Jeff Zucker (the cable network president), the memo was obtained by The New York Times. MarketWatch was told by employment law experts that the three ex-CNN employees will not be eligible for unemployment benefits unlike millions of Americans who were laid off in the pandemic. WarnerMedia, the parent company of CNN, was not available for comment. To receive unemployment benefits, most people must prove that they are out of work. This can often mean that they are fired because of a lack in work, according to Alana Ackels, a labor-and employment lawyer at Bell Nunnally (a Dallas-based law company). A termination of an employee for not following company policies will typically result in the employee being denied unemployment benefits. This would include refusing compliance with COVID-19 prevention policies, masking or vaccine requirements, Ackels explained to MarketWatch. An employee with proof of a medical exemption, religious objection, or a refusal to receive a COVID-19 vaccination may still be eligible for unemployment benefits if they are fired, according to Rebecca Dixon, executive director of the National Employment Law Project. This non-profit advocates for worker rights. Ronald Zambrano is the employment law chair at West Coast Trial Lawyers in Los Angeles. According to Zambrano, this means that an employee who is terminated would not be eligible for unemployment benefits. Zambrano stated that this could leave tens of thousand of Americans without jobs or access to unemployment benefits as they refuse to be vaccinated. What happens if employees decide to quit because they don't want to be vaccinated? Refusing to be vaccinated if required by an employer is unlikely to increase one's chances of receiving unemployment benefits. Dixon stated that if you want to receive unemployment benefits, you would need to show good cause if you leave because of the mandate. Good cause is generally viewed as a reasonable person. It is unlikely that a person who is forced to quit their job due to a vaccine mandate would have good cause, given the overwhelming evidence supporting its safety. Ackles stated that state workforce departments can change eligibility requirements so that employees who refuse to receive the COVID-19 vaccination could be eligible for unemployment benefits. MarketWatch's request for comment was not answered by the Department of Labor. Economic Report: The signal for economic recovery is how workers quit According to the Texas Workforce Commission (which noted that every unemployment insurance claim is evaluated on a case-by-case basis and that what happens in a claim for unemployment benefits is dependent on the individual facts), an employee could be eligible for benefits if they were dismissed for misconduct. While the commission acknowledged that many people who quit their jobs are not eligible for unemployment compensation, it noted that it is possible for them to be considered if they have quit for good reason. Officials from the commission didn't indicate whether anyone was fired for refusing to get vaccinated or whether any employers were charged. Ackles stated that businesses should verify the guidance of their state unemployment commissions in order to determine if an employee who refuses the vaccine is eligible for unemployment benefits.


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