SW Legal Educational Publishing

No Pain, No Pay, No Unemployment Comp
Description Newly hired police officer made no effort to get into shape to pass physical test required of all officers. Knowing he would be dismissed if he did not get into shape, he made no effort to do so. Unemployment compensation is not due former employees who engage in such misconduct.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words Unemployment Compensation, Misconduct
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts One year after he was hired as a police officer by the City of Clarksdale, Mississippi, Theodore Hawkins could not pass the physical fitness test that was required for certification and so was dismissed. He applied for, and was granted, unemployment compensation. City appealed. The Board of Review for Employment Security Commission and the Circuit Court both affirmed the award of compensation. The City appealed.
Decision Reversed. Under Mississippi law, "an individual may be disqualified for unemployment benefits if he was discharged 'for misconduct connected with his work.' The employer has the burden of showing by 'substantial, clear, and convincing evidence' that the former employee's conduct warrants disqualification." There was uncontested evidence that Hawkins made no effort to participate in physical conditioning he was told he needed to avoid failing the qualification test for a third time. Hawkins shows "a lack of interest" in performing well. This constitutes misconduct, so his unemployment is voluntary and he is not entitled to benefits.
Citation City of Clarksdale v. Mississippi Employment Security Comm., ---So.2d--- (1997 WL 562051, Sup. Ct., Miss.)
699 So.2d 578 (Sup. Ct., Miss., 1997)

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