Cursing Car Washer Found Eligible for Jobless Benefits

June 22, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.COM) - The Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled that a worker who cursed at his boss over a disputed work assignment, and was fired as a result, is still eligible for unemployment benefits.

In throwing out the initial rejection of Douglas G. Williams’ unemployment benefits claim, the court ruled Williams’ conduct during the March 2006 incident at a Minneapolis-area car dealer was not serious enough to disqualify Williams for benefits, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune news report.

The three-judge appellate panel   ruled that he was “not disqualified from receiving unemployment insurance benefits because his conduct was a single incident that did not have a significant adverse impact on the employer,” the news report said.

The incident started when Williams’ supervisor at Brooklyn Center Motors told him to clean cigarette butts from the dealership parking lot. Williams replied that he was busy washing cars and that the sales manager could go “[expletive] himself.”   The sales manager was told about the comment and he fired Williams for insubordination.

In an interview with the newspaper,   Williams said he had gone to work that day even though he had the flu. He said a second car washer was on vacation and there was a sale, which meant he had extra cars to wash.

Williams is now a part-time courier, the newspaper said.