Employers that fire a worker for being caught sleeping on the job may not be liable for unemployment. On-the-job snoozing can be considered willful misconduct if it’s clear it violates company policy.
Recent case: Martin was fired after he was observed sleeping for about four minutes. He was terminated and applied for unemployment compensation, arguing that sleeping wasn’t willful misconduct.
His former employer pointed out that the handbook warned against sleeping and that Martin had been warned before. The handbook specifically said “sleeping during work time or in an unauthorized area” is not permitted.
The court agreed Martin wasn’t eligible. (McCormick v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, No. 2510 C.D. 2011, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, 2012)
Final note: Include a no-sleeping rule in your handbook. After all, employees are paid to work, not rest.