Employees discharged for willful misconduct aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits. Generally, refusing an assignment is willful misconduct. But what it you only fire one and not others who refuse the same assignment?
Recent case: Donald’s wife has multiple sclerosis, so for years the truck driver was allowed start deliveries at 4 a.m. so he could get home to help care for her. Then, his shift changed to 6 a.m. Ordered to make a delivery to New Jersey under the new schedule, Donald refused. He was fired and was approved for unemployment benefits.
The employer appealed, arguing that turning down the assignment was willful misconduct. The appeals court disagreed, since a second driver had also refused the assignment because his wife was pregnant, yet he had not been fired. (TIMI Plastics v. Unemployment Compensation Board, No. 1387-CD-2014, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, 2014)