My supervisor chewed me out at work, but I didn't say anything to him at the time. When I walked away, I told one of my co-workers what I thought of him. He overheard me and fired me. Now they're trying to tell me I can't even get unemployment. Is that true?
Under unemployment law, you are eligible for benefits if you are laid off or fired—unless your employer fired you for "misconduct."
Your words, depending on what they were, how you used them and to whom, may fall into the category of misconduct, according to Ellen M. Frantz, an attorney with Johns, Flaherty & Collins whose practice includes business and employment law.
Misconduct is defined as an intentional act you know is against the interests of your employer. "If you were threatening or disrupted others, your actions may be considered misconduct," Frantz said, adding, "We are much more sensitive today about actions that appear to be threatening in the workplace."
While it is normal to be angry when chewed out by a supervisor, raising your voice or swearing may be enough to make you ineligible for unemployment benefits, especially if you have been warned about similar conduct, according to Frantz.
Whether you are an employee terminated for misconduct, or are an employer who has fired a worker for misconduct, records of the incident are important in winning an unemployment benefits case. An employer will be more likely to succeed if it has records showing the worker was talked to about the problem at an earlier time.
Information provided by Ellen Frantz, Employment Law Attorney, Johns, Flaherty & Collins, SC. For an employment law attorney in La Crosse, call 608-784-5678.