Rafferty v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act
A worker who allegedly visits adult Web sites during work hours engages in "willful misconduct." In August 2010, ESPN hired the claimant, Mark Rafferty, as a security specialist. Allegedly he used his workplace computer to access adult Web sites on numerous occasions between February and November 2012. ESPN's corporate policy bars workers from using their computers to access adult Web sites. ESPN discharged Rafferty, and he applied for unemployment benefits. The administrator of the Unemployment Compensation Act found that Rafferty was not eligible for unemployment benefits. The appeals referee found that Rafferty was not eligible, because he engaged in a knowing violation of ESPN's corporate rules. The Employment Security Board of Review affirmed. Rafferty appealed. "Willful misconduct" is defined as deliberate misconduct in willful disregard of the employer's interest, or a single, knowing violation of a reasonable and uniformly enforced rule or policy of the employer, when reasonably applied. The decision of the Board of Review was not arbitrary, illegal or an abuse of discretion. The court dismissed Rafferty's appeal. "Rafferty is not eligible for benefits," wrote the court, "because he was discharged for wilful misconduct committed in the course of his employment."