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Selected Case Law

Selected Case Law

The following are selected passages from Missouri appellate court decisions on various issues that arise under the Missouri Employment Security Law:

Voluntary Leaving Cases

Burden of Proof
"The burden to prove good cause rests on the claimant ...." Contractors Supply Company v. Labor and Industrial Relations Commission, 614 S.W.2d 563, 564 (Mo. App. W.D. 1981).
Definition of Good Cause
"Good cause", for the purposes of this subdivision, shall include only that cause which would compel a reasonable employee to cease working or which would require separation from work due to illness or disability (§288.050.1(1), RSMo).
Voluntary Separation Package
Shields v. Proctor & Gamble Product Company, 164 S.W.3d 540 (Mo.App. E.D. 2005)
Employer offered a voluntary separation package, which the claimant accepted. His actions in accepting the package were voluntary on his part and he is disqualified from benefits for quitting his job without good cause attributable to the work or employer.
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Resignation
Miller v. Help at Home, Inc. No, 186 S.W.3d 801 (Mo.App. W.D. 2006)
Claimant attempted to rescind a resignation which the employer did not allow and in fact accelerated on the last day. The Court held that this is a voluntary leaving. In addition, the Court held that a temporary reduction in hours did not give the claimant a good cause to quit.
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Willcut v. Division of Employment Security, 193 S.W.3d 410 (Mo.App. E.D. 2006)
Claimant submitted a resignation in July that was effective August 31. The employer accepted the resignation, and then dismissed the claimant on July 29. The Court held that the claimant’s separation on July 29 was a discharge and was entitled to UI up to August 31, the date she was going to quit.
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Involuntary Separation
Difatta-Wheaton v. Dolphin Capital Corporation, 271 S.W.3d 594 (Mo. 2008)
When claimant was not able to return to work after approved leave, due to serious health issues, she was not disqualified from receiving benefits because she did not quit her employment “voluntarily”. The claimant did everything possible to retain her job.
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Misconduct Cases

Definition of Misconduct
"Misconduct", only as the term is used in this chapter, conduct or failure to act in a manner that is connected with work, regardless of whether such conduct or failure to act occurs at the workplace or during work hours, which shall include:
  • Conduct or a failure to act demonstrating knowing disregard of the employer's interest or a knowing violation of the standards which the employer expects of his or her employee;
  • Conduct or a failure to act demonstrating carelessness or negligence in such degree or recurrence as to manifest culpability, wrongful intent, or a knowing disregard of the employer's interest or of the employee's duties and obligations to the employer;
  • A violation of an employer's no-call, no-show policy; chronic absenteeism or tardiness in violation of a known policy of the employer; or two or more unapproved absences following a written reprimand or warning relating to an unapproved absence unless such absences are protected by law;
  • A knowing violation of a state standard or regulation by an employee of an employer licensed or certified by the state, which would cause the employer to be sanctioned or have its license or certification suspended or revoked; or
  • A violation of an employer's rule, unless the employee can demonstrate that:
    • He or she did not know, and could not reasonably know, of the rule's requirements;
    • The rule is not lawful; or
    • The rule is not fairly or consistently enforced (§288.030.1(23), RSMo).
Burden of Proof
"Where an employer claims that an employee was discharged for misconduct, the employer has the burden of proving misconduct by competent and substantial evidence." Business Centers of Missouri, Inc. v. Labor and Industrial Relations Commission, 743 S.W.2d 588, 589 (Mo. App. E.D. 1988).

Available for Work Cases

General Provisions
"[T]o be eligible a claimant must clearly possess a genuine attachment to the labor market and be able, willing and ready to accept suitable work." Golden v. Industrial Commission, 524 S.W.2d 34, 36 (Mo. App. 1975).
"[A] claimant cannot unduly restrict . . . availability for employment by arbitrarily limiting the character of work, the area within which employment is sought or would be taken, or the wage which would be acceptable." Blackman v. Industrial Commission, 491 S.W.2d 18, 24 (Mo. App. 1973).
Students
"Ineligible student-claimants are those who limit their availability for work to particular times, days or periods that do not interfere with their primary and principal objective of obtaining a formal education. The reason such students are considered ineligible is that by making themselves available for work only conditionally and on a limited basis at times that do not conflict with their classes and learning purposes, they have divorced themselves actually and currently from the general labor market." Golden v. Industrial Commission, 524 S.W.2d 34, 37 (Mo. App. 1975).

Suitable Work Cases

Refusal of Suitable Work
Ross v. Whelan Security Co., 195 S.W.3d 559 (Mo.App. S.D. 2006)
Court addressed the issue of whether Section 288.050.1(3), “suitable work”, applies when an offer of work is made prior to the filing of a claim by the individual. The court held in part, “An offer of work made to an individual before that individual becomes a ‘claimant’ cannot, by definition, be an offer of work to the ‘claimant,’ and the ‘claimant’ cannot fail to accept such offer at a time when the ‘claimant’ was not in existence.”
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Bona Fide Offer
Garas v. Kelley Services, Inc., 211 S.W.3d 149 (Mo.App. E.D. 2007)
A former employer’s request for a request for a résumé to see if the claimant was qualified for a temporary job was not an offer of work.
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The cases quoted above do not represent an exhaustive compilation of employment security decisions in this state. The quotes are meant only to set out the appellate interpretations on some of the more common issues that come before the Appeals Tribunal.

Note: An appeal cannot be filed by e-mail.

Contact

Division of Employment Security
P.O. Box 59
Jefferson City, MO 65104-0059
Phone: 573-751-3215
Fax: 573-751-9730

Claimant's E-mail: [email protected]
Employer's E-mail: [email protected]
Appeals E-mail: [email protected]