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Unclear rules could warrant unemployment benefits

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Someone who is fired for breaking a workplace rule isn’t entitled to unemployment benefits. That’s because rule-breaking is misconduct. But if the rule is unclear, all bets are off.

Recent case: Koneta was fired from her nursing job after she admitted to accessing her own medical records on the computer system. She applied for unemployment benefits.

The employer argued that she broke rules against accessing medical records without first getting a release. It noted that Koneta had been trained about the rule and should have known that looking at the records was a violation.

Koneta argued no one ever mentioned not being able to access her own records. The court sided with her, reasoning that the rule wasn’t clear enough. (Andrew v. Range Regional, No. A-13-0487, Court of Appeals of Minnesota, 2013)

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