If you are fired from a job, Missouri law1 makes you ineligible for unemployment benefits if you were let go due to misconduct connected with your work. However, the law provides no further guidance on what type of misconduct can disqualify you, the required severity of the conduct, and more. Specifically, courts must find that there was a “willful violation” of an employer’s rules or policies. However, it is not always clear when a violation was willful and rises to the level that would disqualify you from benefits.
In one recent case, Richardson v. Division of Employment Security,2 an employee successfully challenged her denial of benefits in Missouri’s appellate courts after she was fired for sleeping on the job. Richardson claimed that she was suffering an allergic reaction though her employer would not grant her request for a sick day. She reportedly took a Benadryl, fell asleep at her nurse station several times while she was in charge of numerous patients with dementia, and was fired a day later. The Court of Appeals found that loss of consciousness is not always intentional and allowed her to receive benefits.
In another more surprising case, Charles Pusateri was a roof repairman employed at the St. Joseph School District. One day, he was fired after he was caught urinating off the roof of a school building while classes were in session. The employee was allowed breaks and access to restrooms. However, he was granted unemployment benefits since the state did not find his actions rose to the severity level required for willful misconduct.
As you can see, many employees can still get benefits even if they were fired due to misconduct. You should always have an attorney who understands how to present your case and fight for approval of your benefits.
Contact an experienced St. Louis unemployment attorney for help today
If you have an unemployment claim that has been denied, you should always seek the assistance of an experienced St. Louis unemployment lawyer as soon as possible. Attorney Kenneth P. Carp is committed to helping Missourians receive the unemployment benefits they deserve, so call our office today at (314) 722-5257 for help today.