In cases of termination, the employer bears the burden to prove by preponderance of credible testimony or evidence that the claimant committed an act or acts of misconduct as defined by the law in connection with his work. It must be found and determined that the employer has met their burden.
The credible testimony supports the continued inappropriate behavior on the part of the claimant after having been issued written warnings.
Therefore, I find and determined (sic) that the claimant was discharged under disqualifying circumstances and benefits are denied.
The law in Rhode Island regarding Unemployment Benefits and used at Unemployment Hearings:
Rhode Island Employment Security Act, which specifically addresses misconduct as a circumstance which disqualifies a claimant from receiving benefits; Gen. Laws 1956 § 28-44-18, provides:
28-44-18. Discharge for misconduct. — An individual who has been discharged for proved misconduct connected with his or her work shall become ineligible for waiting period credit or benefits for the week in which that discharge occurred and until he or she establishes to the satisfaction of the director that he or she has, subsequent to that discharge, had at least eight (8) weeks of work, and in each of that eight (8) weeks has had earnings of at least twenty (20) times the minimum hourly wage as defined in chapter 12 of this title for performing services in employment for one or more employers subject to chapters 42 – 44 of this title. Any individual who is required to leave his or her work pursuant to a plan, system, or program, public or private, providing for retirement, and who is otherwise eligible, shall under no circumstances be deemed to have been discharged for misconduct. If an individual is discharged and a complaint is issued by the regional office of the National Labor Relations board or the state labor relations board that an unfair labor practice has occurred in relation to the discharge, the individual shall be entitled to benefits if otherwise eligible. For the purposes of this section, "misconduct" is defined as deliberate conduct in willful disregard of the employer's interest, or a knowing violation of a reasonable and uniformly enforced rule or policy of the employer, provided that such violation is not shown to be as a result of the employee's incompetence. Notwithstanding any other provisions of chapters 42 – 44 of this title, this section shall be construed in a manner that is fair and reasonable to both the employer and the employed worker.
In the case of Turner v. Department of Employment and Training, Board of Review, 479 A.2d 740, 741-42 (R.I. 1984), the Rhode Island Supreme Court adopted a definition of the term, ―misconduct,‖ in which they quoted from Boynton Cab Co. v. Newbeck, 237 Wis. 249, 259-60, 296 N.W. 636, 640 (1941):
‗Misconduct‘ * * * is limited to conduct evincing such willful or wanton disregard of an employer‘s interests as is found in deliberate violations or disregard of standards of behavior which the employer has the right to expect of his employee, or in carelessness or negligence of such degree or recurrence as to manifest equal culpability, wrongful intent or evil design, or to show an intentional and substantial disregard of the employee‘s duties and obligations to his employer. On the other hand mere inefficiency, unsatisfactory conduct, failure in good performance as the result of inability or incapacity, inadvertencies or ordinary negligence in isolated instances, or good faith errors in judgment or discretion are not to be deemed ‗misconduct‘ within the meaning of the statute.
The employer bears the burden of proving by a preponderance of evidence that the claimant‘s actions constitute misconduct as defined by law.
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