In an unemployment case in which an employee was fired, a key issue will be determining whether the employee was terminated due to misconduct, as misconduct will disqualify the employee from receiving unemployment benefits. The interpretation and definition of “misconduct” have long been argued among employers and the courts in Missouri. For a long time, legislators complained that the threshold for misconduct was too high as several notorious former employees were able to qualify for benefits despite embezzlement, public urination at work, and similar acts.
In response to the difficulty of meeting the previous “misconduct” standard, legislators were able to pass a new law,1 effective August 28, 2014, that lowered the threshold for misconduct as it applies to unemployment cases. Changes in the definition are as follows:
Previous law = misconduct required a “wanton or willful disregard” or either the interests of the employer or the standards the employer has for employee behavior, as well as a substantial and intentional disregard of their duties and obligations or deliberate violation of employer rules.
New law = misconduct includes any “knowing disregard” of the interests or standards of the employer, as well as a knowing disregard of duties and obligations or any violation of an employer’s rules, so long as the rule is reasonable and lawful.
In addition to lowering the general standard for misconduct, the law also sets out that the following acts will be considered to be misconduct:
- Violating a no-call, no-show rule
- Chronic tardiness
- Chronic absenteeism
- Absences that were not approved after a written warning
- Violating a state regulation that would result in employer sanctions
Note that an employee may commit such misconduct in or out of the workplace or even after work hours, so long as the conduct is somehow deemed to be “connected to work.”
Contact an experienced unemployment attorney today
The stricter Missouri laws make it more difficult for certain employees who were fired to qualify for unemployment and simultaneously makes it easier for employers to contest unemployment claims for misconduct. The assistance of an experienced unemployment lawyer is important if you have been fired and want to file a claim for unemployment. Call the Law Offices of Kenneth P. Carp at 636-947-3600 for help today. The Law Offices of Kenneth P. Carp are available to take unemployment cases throughout the United States.