For many people, there is a clear separation with between their work life and their home life. Of course, the way that you conduct yourself with your friends and your family would rarely be the same way in which you would conduct yourself at the office or the workplace. For many people, however, the line between work and non-work has been significantly blurred, largely due to the convenience of communication offered by the internet and internet-enabled devices such as smartphones and tablets.
As work has encroached more and more into the personal lives of employees, so has some employer’s desire (and ability) to monitor the way that employees conduct their lives outside of the workplace. We now live in a society in which it has become commonplace to “share” details regarding our personal lives on social media sites such as Facebook, whether that sharing involves pictures of your baby, your Friday night out with friends at the local bar, or your political views regarding recent events in the news.
New Missouri law expands definition of “misconduct” in employment
Under a recently amended Missouri law,1 employment misconduct may now relate to conduct that occurs outside of the workplace and work hours that is “connected to work.” This is relevant to unemployment law in that employees who are fired for misconduct are not eligible for unemployment benefits. Under a broad reading of the law, an employer who did not agree with an employee’s conduct outside of work and who could establish that is was related to the employee’s work could terminate the employee and successfully protest his or her unemployment benefits.
This law is relatively new and it remains to be seen how Missouri courts2 will interpret the “related to work” provision. In the meantime, is advisable for employers to update their policies to reflect the changes in the law and employees to be more aware of the things they share regarding their personal lives or beliefs at work or on the Internet.
Contact a St. Louis unemployment lawyer today to discuss your unemployment law issue
Whether or not an employee’s conduct outside of the workplace was sufficiently related to his or her position or was the actual reason for termination is often a complicated legal matter. Consequently, people who have been terminated for reasons purportedly related to conduct outside of the workplace should retain legal counsel as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with St. Louis unemployment attorney Kenneth P. Carp, call our office today at 636-947-3600.