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)
The 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.
View Complete Shields v. Proctor & Gamble Decision
Miller v. Help at Home, Inc. No, 186 S.W.3d 801 (Mo.App. W.D. 2006)
The 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.
View Complete Miller v. Help at Home, Inc. Decision
Willcut v. Division of Employment Security, 193 S.W.3d 410 (Mo.App. E.D. 2006)
The 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 benefits up to August 31, the date she was going to quit.
View Complete Willcut v. Division of Employment Security Decision

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).
"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

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.
View Complete Garas v. Kelly Services Inc. Decision

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.

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