If you were fired, you can still get unemployment benefits in Iowa, as long as you weren’t fired for misconduct. The question is, what’s misconduct?
Take the case of Dwayne J. Behrens v. Murphy Oil USA, decided March 3, 2014. The claimant, Mr. Behrens, didn’t inventory Murphy’s supply of safety salt on December 27 as he was supposed to, and that day two pallets of salt went missing—they were worth about $1,200 total. Thing is, he meant to do it, he just hadn’t done it yet. Mr. Behrens was busy taking care of other business needs in the store, and it was totally normal for inventory to be done late. He was fired for the missing salt.
Administrative Law Judge Steven A. Wise looked to the definition of misconduct:
“The rules define misconduct as (1) deliberate acts or omissions by a worker that materially breach the duties and obligations arising out of the contract of employment, (2) deliberate violations or disregard of standards of behavior that the employer has the right to expect of employees, or (3) carelessness or negligence of such degree of recurrence as to manifest equal culpability, wrongful intent or evil design. Mere inefficiency, unsatisfactory conduct, failure in good performance as the result of inability or incapacity, inadvertencies or ordinary negligence in isolated instances, or good faith errors in judgment or discretion are not misconduct within the meaning of the statute.”
It’s pretty clear Mr. Behrens didn’t lose the salt deliberately. And since inventory was often done late, he can’t really be considered careless or negligent. Mr. Behrens’s unfortunate safety salt incident reads a lot more like the “unsatisfactory conduct” or “inadvertencies or ordinary negligence in isolated instances.”
The decision in Mr. Behrens’s case is a good sign for people seeking unemployment benefits in Iowa. It means you can get benefits even if your slipups cost your employer a big chunk of change. There might be loads of people who were fired just like Mr. Behrens but are reluctant to seek unemployment benefits because they think that they will be ineligible for misconduct. This case shows that even if your employer had a financial loss due to your oversight and fired you because of it, you can still get unemployment insurance benefits in Iowa.
It can be tough to navigate all the rules alone, and you should seriously consider hiring a lawyer to help you out. I like to say to my clients, "Help me to help you." If we can help you call the Lombardi Law Firm to speak with attorneys Steve Lombardi and Katrina Schaefer. We can be reached at 515-222-1110 or by emailing us at [email protected] and [email protected] We look forward to your call.