Employees who break company rules can be fired for misconduct and aren’t eligible for unemployment compensation. But what if the “misconduct” involves taking a complaint outside the company?
If your policy clearly states that complaints should be raised internally first, then you probably won’t have to pay unemployment for employees who are fired because they ignored your rule.
Recent case: Wayne Barnes, who worked as a Medicare marketing executive, was fired for not following his employer’s orders. The company had a rule that required employees to raise any complaints internally. Barnes instead wrote letters to a third party. He was fired and filed for unemployment compensation.
But the court concluded that by violating a reasonable employer rule (to bring problems to the attention of ), he was guilty of misconduct and disqualified from receiving unemployment. (In the Matter of Barnes and Commissioner of Labor, No. 501592, Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, 2007)
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