Employees who lose their jobs because of willful misconduct aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits. But whether misconduct occurred can be called into question by any agreement the employer and employee may have signed calling for a suspension instead of termination.
Recent case: Craig, a prison guard, was fired for breaking a rule concerning prisoners’ property. He requested reinstatement and suspension. The prison agreed. However, Craig never returned to work (he apparently didn’t get the decision) and was fired.
When he applied for unemployment benefits, the prison system said his agreement to be suspended meant he admitted breaking the rule. But the court disagreed and said unless the agreement spelled out a confession, it wasn’t an admission. Craig got the benefits. (Bennett v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, No. 710-CD-2014, Commonwealth Court, 2015)