If You Are Fired From Your Job

If you think you will be, or were fired from your job, for any reason other than a lack of work, my inclination is to automatically expect the employer to respond to the notice you filed a claim against their SUTA (State Unemployment Tax Account). that your termination was for a reason that is, or sounds like it can be guilt of misconduct, which needs to be connected to the work.   

Natural for because of my former job experience, and that I know implicitly it is the employer's burden .. to prove they fired you for a reason that equates to what a similar average reasonable person would think of as potentially being work related misconduct.

Unfortunately, I also learned people who have just been fired through no fault of their own, are often desperate, or still second guessing themselves as to if they could of done anything to stop themselves from being fired, which as you might imagine, sometimes makes  innocent people sound guilty, at least during the initial claim adjudication phase.   

Generally speaking, unemployed people are frequently surprised by the tone of the phone adjudication interview, which is used to gather the available information, that is then used to make the adjudicator's initial eligibility determination. 

But initial determs' are easily appealed, should you, or your former employer happen to think the initial call about benefits .. was erroneous. 

And please believe me .. initial erroneous determinations are not uncommon, whether allowing, or denying benefits.

So .. it makes sense we both know what misconduct means.

Work Misconduct Was Distilled Into a Definition in 1941 

Boynton Cab Company v. Neubeck (1941), 237 Wis. 249, 296 NW 636 is a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision that first defined at-will employee misconduct.   Some states have adopted it as their own definition, while other who've written their own definition still use some of the same language used way back then. 

Unemployment Administrative Hearing Officers across the country often cite the case decision below, or another precedent decision about some element of misconduct to reach their own conclusion about the facts laid out before them, during the crucial first level tribunal unemployment hearing

Given unemployment laws vary by state, as do interpretations of each state's laws, please do check your state's Employment Security Act to see if, or how it defines misconduct.

The the Boynton Cab vs. Neubeck decision (found below) makes plenty of good sense to me.  And it is central to a valid rebuttal argument against misconduct.

Knowing the burden of proof is often about positioning yourself before you apply for benefits .. if you know the goal for claiming unemployment is how well you can initially rebut it wasn't misconduct, but something other.  Or, you may just need to know what not to say and let your former employer fall on their sword, which may be their inability to sustain their burden at an unemployment hearing .. even if they you're the one who needs to appeal an initial claim determination.

What is Willful Misconduct

Boynton Cab Company v. Neubeck (1941), 237 Wis. 249, 296 NW 636

"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 are supposed to interpret misconduct.

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