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Unemployment Insurance-Part II: Misconduct Cheat-Sheet

Parting ways with an Employer can be a brutal experience. There is not much that can mute that pain, but Unemployment Insurance Benefits can sure help. A majority of cases that occur are classified as Misconduct cases. This blog is intended to help you identify your case as a Misconduct case and provide some helpful hints that will enhance your strategical approach.
First, you should be aware of what Misconduct is. Misconduct has been defined as: Conduct that the Claimant engaged in that he or she knew would jeopardize his or her job. The word “KNEW” is very important. This suggests a subjective knowledge component. This means that what the Claimant knew or believed is the focal point of the case. The Claimant had to be aware of, or have knowledge of the fact that his or her actions could jeopardize their job. So it is not about what the “reasonable employee under similar circumstances” would have believed, which is the objective standard, it is all about what the Claimant actually knew and believed before the final incident.
Second, consider the types of ways a Claimant can possess knowledge that a certain type of conduct would jeopardize their job. The following things can give the Claimant this knowledge:
1. Employee Handbooks
2. Verbal Warnings
3. Written Warnings (particularly Performance Improvement Plans, often referred to as P.I.P.)
4. Email Correspondence Concerning Policy
5. Employee Training on Particular Policies
The more of these things the Employer presents, the more difficult the case will be for the Claimant. But beware, when the Claimant engages in conduct that is blantly harmful or egregious, then the law assumes the Claimant had knowledge. Examples of these situations are:
1. Stealing from an Employer
2. Physical Violence
3. Coming to Work Intoxicated or Under the Influence
Lastly, it is important for Claimants to recognize what situations are NOT MISCONDUCT. The following scenarios are NOT MISCONDUCT:
1. Mere Inefficiency.
2. Isolated Acts of Negligence.
3. Good Faith Errors in Judgement.
4. Inadequate Performance that is the Result of Inability.
Being knowledgeable and prepared is the best way to be confident in the hearing and dominate your opposition. Godspeed and good luck.

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