Fired From Your Job ..
Was It For Something Found in a Definition of Willful Misconduct?

Employee responsibility and personal accountability aside, not everything deemed to be misconduct good enough to fire an employee is .. good enough for unemployment law.

For some of you,  asking the simple question,  " Can I get unemployment when fired "  your question could be easily answered by taking a look at a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision that gave us something to finally see how  work misconduct was defined way back in 1941 ..

1941 was just six years after unemployment insurance was mandated by the federal government.

The decision's text and spirit, went on to be adopted in part, or it's entirety by many states who also decided to define what work related misconduct is .. 

But I think this definition is special because it also tells us what is NOT misconduct.

It Was 1941 When Work Misconduct Was Distilled into a Definition

Boynton Cab Company v. Neubeck (1941), 237 Wis. 249, 296 NW 636 is a Wisconsin Supreme Court Decision which still stands today and is cited by unemployment administrative hearing judges (ALJ) in decisions in many states  to this day .. including Wisconsin

However, unemployment laws vary, so double check your state's Employment Security Act.

The the Boynton Cab vs. Neubeck decision makes a lot of good sense to me, so I'm sure it will to many of you.

 It's been adopted in it's entirety , or in part by many other states and explains what willful misconduct consists of

Succinctly, it's enough to make us aware of and responsible for our own behavior as an at-will employee.

When an employer goes to an unemployment appeal hearing, whether  on their own appeal, or yours, they are reasonably expected as the party with the burden of proof for a discharge and  to rise to a standard of law to prove at least some portion of the definition below. 

In general, they must prove your misconduct at work was willful.

Who knows you might by  of realized getting unemployment requires thinking like a lawyer.

I mean, the whole idea here is how you will prevent the employer from sustaining their burden to prove misconduct via a counter quasi-legal  argument of why your actions, or inactions in the performance of your job were not of the willful, intentional, or should of known better variety.

An argument to rebut your guilt of misconduct isn't based on  defending your actions,  That would be an unwise choice based upon your lack of unemployment hearing experience.

Your position at the hearing is to show why your employer's testimony and/or evidence doesn't hit the mark of any point in the definition they are aiming for.  .

And yes, some of you will understand when I tell you if your emotions can ruin your chance of winning a winnable unemployment appeal, then the same holds true for some employers .. who are usually your former boss .. because direct, first hand knowledge is important to one of your rights to due process you may need to object to while  preventing fulfillment of the burden.

So why were you fired from your job is an important question, but it's not as important as admitting when your employer can prove you were fired for being guilty of work related misconduct.

Willful Misconduct Definition

"The term 'misconduct' as used in (the disqualification provision) is limited to conduct evincing such willful or wanton disregard of an employer's interest as is found in deliberate violations or disregard of standards of behavior which the employer has the right to expect of his employee, or in carelessness or negligence of such degree or recurrence as to manifest equal culpability, wrongful intent or evil design, or to show an intentional and substantial disregard of the employee's duties and obligations to his employer. On the other hand, mere inefficiency, unsatisfactory conduct, failure in good performance as the result of inability or incapacity, inadvertencies or ordinary negligence in isolated instances or good faith errors in judgment or discretion are not to be deemed 'misconduct' within the meaning of the statute."

Now, check your own state's unemployment laws to see if your state has changed any of the semantics, or might have some unemployment precedents of it's own to help you understand how the powers that be interpret the word misconduct.

If you need representation, or help preparing for you appeal .. I may be at your service.

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