A man named Ralph Reese, 57, was recently fired from his job at a New York Whole Foods for taking a tuna fish sandwich. The question now looms whether or not the act was misconduct, because anyone fired for misconduct is denied unemployment benefits. While the story may sound silly, experts say the high unemployment rate has spawned a rush of cases of people fighting for benefits. Reese's lawyer said:
"A lot more people are getting fired for very minor reasons. What we are seeing is that they are firing people for 'misconduct' when what they are really doing is downsizing and it’s an attempt to not pay benefits."
Whole Foods argued that Reese tried to steal the sandwich by taking it from the trash at the end of his shift as a deli clerk. The company has a policy that food can't be taken without being paid for, even though employees get a 20 percent discount. The company also has a program where team members are encouraged to try different products, but they are supposed to ask their supervisor, so the food is logged and accounted for.