My question involves unemployment benefits for the state of: CA
My boss has been bullying me for nearly a year, shortly after I separated from my husband. He began exaggerating simple errors, sending me abusive emails claiming I was incompetent, holding me responsible for other's mistakes, and blatantly fabricating instances of incompetence. I would have anxiety symptoms when I'd see an email from him. None of his behavior was related to my race, sex, etc. so I knew I couldn't claim harassment, despite the emotional distress I was caused. I wondered if I could cite marital status, but I couldn't prove that he'd made comments comparing me to his ex-wife - who he HATES. I knew my only recourse was to look for another position. But in the midst of divorce proceedings, I decided to just lay low until I found the energy to move on. I continued to have success in my work, and figured the board would question him for terminating me in that light.
A while back, I had told a friend on the board what had been occurring. She insisted it was harassment, and said I should put what he had been doing in writing and present it to him, requesting a mediator. She said this would protect me from being fired if he continued exaggerating and/or fabricating work issues. I didn't want to deal with it, so I declined. Plus, his behavior towards me was improving, inexplicably. I told her this.
A few weeks later, she told the board about his behavior against my wishes. They decided to mount an investigation about my "concerns," and promised me that the goal was to improve my working conditions. I was told I was going to be interviewed by two board members who would treat me fairly. The president of the board called and I shared with her that some of my colleagues had suddenly began shunning me. Shortly thereafter, she called and I was tersely ordered to list my "allegations" so they could "wrap this up." My boss confronted me in the storage room, saying I was lying about one of my instances of bullying I listed in my "allegations." I felt unsafe, as though this man had a mental problem, and I was disturbed that I had told the board I was being harassed, and yet they put me in the position of being cornered and harassed further.
I sent an email to the board president asking what was going on. She responded that they don't get involved in staff issues - when I didn't involve them in the first place! On Monday, my boss took great pleasure in firing me. He said, "We have no more confidence in your abilities." This was also written on my termination letter, after 16 years of service, and despite strong statistical evidence of my benefits to the company.
I know that CA is an at-will state, so he could have let me go for the color of my shirt. I guess my big question is, can I be denied unemployment benefits due to their reason for terminating me? What exactly is 'misconduct'?