Iowa statutes clearly place the burden on the employer to prove an employee engaged in misconduct in order to find the employee ineligible for unemployment benefits. While this burden placement is clear, how the employer must prove this fact is not spelled out in the statute. The employer must present objective evidence of the employee's alleged action, but the type of evidence that will be found sufficient is not discussed in the law. Case law provides some guidance and indicates that the employer's evidence must show an intent by the employee to disregard the employer's interests. This most often requires the employer to also show that there was a policy in place prohibiting the employee from engaging in whatever action the employer alleges was "misconduct." Iowa law repeatedly states that misconduct sufficient for an employer to terminate, especially in an at-will state, is not necessarily sufficient to deny the employee unemployment benefits. Iowa unemployment security law has very specific purposes, namely to protect out-of-work citizens from the burden of unemployment when they did not engage in intentional behavior that was meant to harm the employer.
Call us today if you were terminated and your former employer is alleging that you engaged in misconduct in an attempt to prevent you from collecting unemployment benefits.