After 35 years in this industry, I thought I had seen it all, but then there’s this:

An employer actually discharged someone for being annoying?  Oh I’m sure it’s happened, but no one would ever officially say this, would they? And they were disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits for annoying their co-workers? This can’t be true!

I, of course, had to look at the facts of the case. As it turns out, this employer actually did an entire investigation regarding allegations made by this claimant’s co-workers only to find that he was inappropriately touching co-workers. So yes, his actions definitely could be classified as those which annoyed his coworkers, but the claimant was in fact discharged due to violation of the company sexual harassment policy.

This employer received a favorable determination in this case because they did the following:

·       HR immediately suspended the claimant pending an investigation upon receipt of the complaint

·       Several co-workers were individually interviewed

·       Many corroborating written statements were received

·       Security footage was viewed and confirmed the allegations

·       HR confirmed that the claimant had received, signed and acknowledged the company sexual harassment policy which clearly indicated that any infractions of the policy may result in termination of employment

·       HR immediately discharged the claimant upon the conclusion of the investigation

·       The unemployment claim was responded to both timely and adequately, providing the necessary “who, what, why, where and when” information surrounding the termination.

·       The employer included details of the final incident, redacted written statements from witnesses, still photos of the reported conduct from the security footage,  a copy of the company’s sexual harassment policy, and the claimant’s signed acknowledgment of the policy

So while the State’s determination may lead someone to wonder if a person can really collect unemployment benefits because they were annoying, it is clear that there was far more to this annoying conduct. It was the thorough investigation, company policy, and ultimately the timely, complete and thorough response to this unemployment claim that warranted this favorable determination.

 


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